Campaign pays off for RNLI
OBAN Lifeboat is backing the RNLI annual Respect the Water initiative to prevent accidents at sea.
And the good news is that the drive to save lives is paying off, with a reduction in the number of call- outs so far this year.
According to spokeswoman Leonie Woolf, Oban Lifeboat has launched on 26 occasions to date this year, compared with 29 for the corresponding period in 2015.
Last year saw the lifeboat launch 61 times in total, making it the busiest single all-weather lifeboat in Scotland.
Almost a quarter of its callouts were to yachts or motor vessels in trouble – for example, taking on water or with a fouled propeller. Another 25 per cent were for medical evacuations from the Isle of Mull.
The lifeboat launched nine times to help vessels that had run aground, and five times to aid fishing or commercial vessels in trouble.
A smaller number of launches accounted for canoes or windsurfers, assisting divers and others. There were no fatalities.
The previous year, 2014, saw a larger number of launches with 67 call- outs. The majority remained with yachts or motor boats in trouble, vessels that had run aground and medical evacuations from the Isle of Mull.
The other call- outs followed a similar pattern to 2015, with a small number of launches to fishing vessels, assisting divers and medical evacuations from other islands and vessels. Again, there were no fatalities.
As of December 31, 2015, Oban Lifeboat had launched on a total of 2,089 shouts, covered a total of 44,173 miles on ser- vice and used 382,579 litres of fuel on services.
The total number of hours the volunteer crew spent on the lifeboat during services was 3,614 hours.
The Respect the Water campaign aims to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024 and is targeting adult men, who account for the most incidents.
Last year saw an increase in the number of men losing their lives off the Scottish coast.
Between 2011 and 2014, men accounted for more than three- quarters of Scottish coastal deaths, but in 2015 this increased to 92 per cent.
A surprising trend is that many of the coastal deaths each year are people who never planned to enter the water. Of the 39 deaths last year, 79 per cent did not intend to get wet: they were people taking part in coastal walking, angling or commercial activity.