Cam­paign pays off for RNLI

The Oban Times - - News - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­

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.

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