Training with a difference for Largs RNLI.

The Largs RNLI volunteer crew recently joined members of the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club for a training session.

Largs lifeboat operations manager John Griffiths held a training exercise on Tuesday April 26 with Elizabeth Pratt of the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club (FOCCRC), reviewing emergency procedures for rowers and towing procedures that would be followed if necessary.

The weather was perfect for the planned training with calm seas and a light breeze. The two
R. A. Wilson FOCCRC lifeboat and skiff Thistle launched just before 7 p.m. and spent just over an hour afloat.

It had been identified that the rowers weren’t sure how best to react if someone fell overboard. The lifeboat crew worked with the rowers to establish safe routines to follow in the event this happened, with the rowers gaining valuable skills and confidence in how to handle this emergency safely.

Towing a skiff is something the Largs RNLI volunteer crew have never encountered. This training session therefore provided an excellent opportunity to practice the techniques, proving to be a useful exercise for both the lifeboat crew and the rowers.

After safely recovering both boats, the lifeboat crew were able to provide key safety tips including the use of personal locator beacons, who to call in an emergency and the importance of regular maintenance of life jackets. The crew was also happy to show rowers the equipment and operational capabilities of the Atlantic 85 lifeboat.

After a joint debriefing with the volunteer crew and rowers, the lifeboat was cleaned and put into service.

John Griffiths, Largs RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: “It was a great opportunity for our volunteer crew to practice with a different type of vessel. The FOCCRC skiff gave the crew experience of working with this type of vessel should the need arise in the future.

“The training allows our crews to prepare for future missions, whatever they may be. We are happy to have been able to give practical safety advice to the rowers and enjoyed training alongside them.

“In a coastal emergency, always dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.”

RNLI Highlights

The charity RNLI saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service along the coasts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and over 240 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of the coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its lifesaving service. Since the RNLI’s inception in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 142,700 lives.

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