Com­mu­nity unites to sup­port vol­un­teer life­savers

The Oban Times - - News -

VOL­UN­TEERS who sup­port the old­est lifeboat sta­tion in the Outer He­brides have been go­ing the ex­tra mile in and out the wa­ter.

The Stornoway branch of the Royal Na­tional Lifeboat In­sti­tu­tion (RNLI) is cel­e­brat­ing its 130th an­niver­sary this year. To help fund the ser­vice, a quiz, or­gan­ised by Stornoway Lifeboat Ladies’ Guild (SLLG), was held in Stornoway Golf Club on March 17.

Ellen Mac­don­ald from SLLG said: ‘It was a busy night and our thanks go to ev­ery­one who came along and the lo­cal shops and busi­nesses which do­nated an ex­cel­lent ar­ray of prizes for our raf­fle on the night.’

The event, which raised £ 852, co­in­cided with the re­lease of the of­fi­cial 2016 RNLI sta­tis­tics. Ac­cord­ing to the RNLI, which has 237 lifeboat sta­tions around the coast of the UK and Re­pub­lic of Ire­land, vol­un­teer crews spent a to­tal of 228,869 hours at sea last year, help­ing more than 30,000 peo­ple.

Stornoway RNLI launched 27 times last year, res­cu­ing 24 peo­ple and sav­ing one life. Of those res­cued, one per­son was un­der the age of 18. The vol­un­teer crew and

Tom San­der­son, a Sev­ern- class lifeboat, launched eight times in dark­ness dur­ing 2016 and three times in wind speeds over force seven, near gale.

Over the same time pe­riod, Barra Is­land RNLI crew spent 1,125 hours at sea. Aboard the Sev­ern- class all-weather RNLI lifeboat Edna Wind­sor there were 19 launches – four in dark­ness and two in wind speeds over force seven. The crew res­cued three peo­ple un­der the age of 18 and 22 over the age of 18. The crew spent 497 hours on ser­vice and 628 hours on ex­er­cise.

Will Stephens, the RNLI’s head of life­sav­ing, said: ‘Once again, we are ex­tremely grate­ful for the ded­i­ca­tion shown by our life­savers.

‘Our vol­un­teer lifeboat crews spent more than 228,869 hours at sea last year, but we re­ally see our res­cue ser­vice as a last re­sort. We’d re­ally like to see peo­ple pay­ing more at­ten­tion to safety mes­sages and giv­ing the wa­ter the healthy re­spect it de­serves. While we will al­ways an­swer the call for help, my­self and ev­ery­one within the RNLI would like to see peo­ple stay­ing safer.’

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