Byline: Invergordon volunteer RNLI crew train every Monday evening, and tonight was no different, with the 2nd week into a routine first aid course when the pagers sounded.
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Aberdeen Coastguard requested the launch of Invergordon all-weather Trent Class Lifeboat to assist a person in difficulty on a jet ski drifting in the Cromarty Firth.  

With fading light RNLB Douglas Aikman Smith and 7 volunteer crew-members launched shortly after 7pm to locate the casualty. A jet ski with one person on board was located 1 mile west of Cromarty drifting with no power due to a mechanical failure.  

A tow was quickly established and the vessel was taken back to Cromarty slipway while the male occupant was taken on board the lifeboat for a quick assessment after having been stranded for 45 minutes in the chilly Cromarty Firth. With no medical issues, the jet ski and occupant were landed safely to an awaiting party who helped recover the jet ski.  

The lifeboat was back at her berth, and made ready for service by 8.10pm where the crew then returned to their first aid course.

RNLI media contacts:

Michael MacDonald, Invergordon Lifeboat Volunteer Press Officer, 07751204647,

Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026,  

Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903,

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789


Byline: The lives of hundreds of African children will be safer around water thanks to a first-of-its-kind lifesaving programme, which is being run in Tanzania.
Page Content: The new Aquatic Survival Programme, being introduced to the country by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), has two key aims – first, to deliver water safety messages to school children and, second, to teach children basic survival swimming.

The charity is training local teachers, community leaders and scout leaders to deliver the vital water safety lessons to such a vulnerable group.

The RNLI is working closely with a local Zanzibari community based organisation called The Panje Project, which is providing important ‘on the ground’ support, involving local people and schools in the programme.

The first run of the programme is taking place in a village called Nungwi in Zanzibar, where ten local people are being trained by the RNLI to deliver key water safety messages. Five of them are receiving additional training in how to teach self-survival and rescue – or basic survival swimming. Once the local people have had this training, they will then deliver the sessions to local children, to put their learning into practice immediately.

Over the course of two weeks, at least 300 children aged 7-14 are being taught important water safety messages and 30-40 children are being taught self-survival and rescue.

The World Health Organisation estimates that Africa has the highest continental drowning rate in the world. There is currently no global swim-survival programme for low resource countries, so the RNLI has worked closely with other key organisations including UK Sport, Plan International, the Swimming Teachers’ Association, Nile Swimmers and Royal Lifesaving Society Commonwealth, to create this unique programme.

Using their combined experience and expertise, the organisations have created an Aquatic Survival Programme manual, designed specifically for Africa. The manual is being used to deliver the training to local people, and will thereafter be available as an open-source resource for the local people to use. The manual covers every step in how to set up and run the Aquatic Survival Programme – from finding a suitable location, to sourcing funding and delivering the training.

If this first run of the programme is successful, the RNLI will begin to roll it out across Africa next year.

Steve Wills, the RNLI’s international development manager, explains:

‘Drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide, and is particularly prevalent in Africa. Teaching these vital water safety and swim-survival skills to children at an early age is so important because it means they have the knowledge and skills for life – therefore significantly reducing their chances of dying from drowning in the future.

‘The RNLI’s priority is to make sure we give local people the skills and resources to continue delivering this tuition to children once our trainers have left the country. By focusing on helping others to help themselves, we’re equipping them the knowledge and skills to develop and sustain their own lifesaving programme.’

Separately, before the start of the Aquatic Survival Programme in Zanzibar, three RNLI lifeguard trainers ran a lifeguard training programme in Dar es Salaam. They taught essential lifeguarding skills to 30 participants from Tanzania, Zanzibar and Uganda. They covered crucial first steps of lifeguarding and also delivered a ‘train the trainer’ course, enabling the trainee lifeguards to teach the skills they learn to others – again ensuring they are able to set up and sustain their own lifeguarding service.

The RNLI has been stepping-up its international development work since 2011, to help developing lifesaving organisations and reduce the 1.2M drownings that occur around the world each year. The charity is focusing on helping other organisations to help themselves by providing a range of services such as training, supply of equipment, safety education, and guidance on search and rescue frameworks and flood resilience.

The RNLI’s international development work is self-funding. The work is funded primarily through overseas sales of consultancy, equipment and training to countries that require those services; and external / government funding where available. In time, the RNLI will begin to fundraise for specific international projects.

Notes to Editors
• Images from the Aquatic Survival Programme are attached. Please credit RNLI/Mike Lavis.
• RNLI spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact Laura Fennimore on the number below to make arrangements.

RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663181 or or RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.


Byline: On Sunday 29th September, 2013, after receiving a 999 call from the crew of a 24′ yacht, reporting that they had run aground on a sandbank opposite Dumbarton Rock on the River Clyde, Belfast Coastguard requested the launch of Helensburgh RNLI lifeboat.
Page Content: The lifeboat was launched at 0603 hours and the crew proceeded to the area where they located the vessel on the landward side of the Dyke outside the navigation channel.  Apparently the yacht had gone aground at near high water on Saturday night while on passage from Rothesay to the Rothesay Dock in Glasgow.  The lifeboat stood by the vessel until the tide has risen sufficiently to allow her to be refloated, after which time she was towed to Sandpoint Marina in the River Leven and assisted alongside by the Helensburgh Coastguard team. With the yacht secure, the lifeboat started to make passage back to Rhu. 

Shortly after the lifeboat had left the River Leven the crew of yacht decided to continue their passage to the Rothesay Dock.  However the vessel ran aground again while leaving the River Leven with the result that the lifeboat had to be re-tasked to assist and refloat her.  At 0915 hours, the lifeboat crew reported that they had refloated the yacht and had towed her back into the navigation channel to allow her to complete her voyage of discovery to Glasgow.

The lifeboat returned to station and was reported ready for service again 1000 hours.

Later the same day at 1236 hours Belfast Coastguard contacted the station Launching Authority after a call was received from a member of the public reporting that there was a capsized dinghy in the Gareloch at Clynder. The crew assembled and lifeboat launched at 1243 hours.  Once on scene the lifeboat crew located the dinghy and reported that it had been righted and sailed to shore where its crew was in the process of recovering it.  As no further assistance was required, the lifeboat returned to base and was reported ready for service again at 1345 hours.


Byline: Eastbourne RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched this morning (26 Sept) to assist a 12 metre yacht which had suffered engine failure and was unable to sail back to harbour
Page Content: The two people on board the yacht were sailing a mile south of Beachy Head when they decided to return to harbour. Having turned for home their attempt to motor-sail back to harbour was thwarted when their yacht suffered an engine failure. Unable to sail in the prevailing conditions they sought assistance. Without a working VHF radio they first contacted Sovereign Harbour by mobile phone and were rightly advised to notify Dover Coastguard. HM Coastguard then paged the volunteer crew and requested the launch of Eastbourne lifeboat. Soon on scene a towline was passed from the ALB to the casualty vessel which was then towed back to Sovereign Harbour where it was passed to the harbour workboat.

A spokesman for Eastbourne lifeboats later commented that for the second time this week sailors had got into difficulty with no working VHF radio on board and were forced to rely on their mobile phones to call for help. It was a concern because often phone signals around Beachy Head are intermittent and unreliable.  


Byline: At 1626 hours on Wednesday 25th September 2013 Helensburgh RNLI Lifeboat was paged after the Coastguard received a report of a female up to her chest in water near Dumbarton Castle.
Page Content: Shortly after the lifeboat was launched, the crew received further information that there was a possibility of there being 3 persons involved. Once on scene, the lifeboat crew located two males, one female plus 3 dogs, in a marshy area adjacent to Dumbarton Rock. While out walking with her dogs, the female had got into difficulty in the marshy area and had ended up chest deep in water. She had sought assistance from her brother and father.  However, as they had been unable to get close to her, the emergency services had been contacted.
 After taking the female and her dogs on board the lifeboat, the crew then picked up the other two males. All were cold and wet however were in good spirits. They were landed at Sandpoint Point Marina where they were checked over by an Ambulance Crew.
 At 1725 hours the lifeboat crew returned to base, reporting ready for service again at 1820 hours.


Byline: A 7m yacht with engine failure and torn sails, and two of her crew of three suffering from sea sickness, was towed to safety by RNLI Angle’s all weather lifeboat on Monday (23 September).
Page Content: The Tamar class lifeboat Mark Mason was launched at 4.15pm to go to the aid of the yacht, which was about three miles north-west of Skomer Island and on passage from Fishguard to Neyland.

The Pembroke Dock-Rosslare ferry had diverted from its passage towards Ireland and was on the scene relaying communications between the Coastguard and casualty and acting as a lee. A RIB had also arrived and was standing by.

When the lifeboat reached the scene at 4.42pm, the ferry was released and continued her voyage to Rosslare.

Due to the sea conditions the RIB transferred two lifeboat crew members to the yacht to assess the situation and it was decided to evacuate two of the yacht’s crew to the lifeboat.

A tow was then connected and the lifeboat brought the casualty to Neyland Marina at 7.50pm. At the entrance to the marina, the yacht managed to restart her engine and made her own way in to moor safely alongside the pontoon. The lifeboat transferred the yacht’s two crew members back to their vessel and recovered the two lifeboat volunteers.

The lifeboat was then released to return to her station, where she was rehoused at.8.40pm after nearly four-and-a-half hours at sea.

Note to editors

The photograph shows RNLI Angle’s all weather lifeboat Mark Mason.
Photo: RNLI Angle

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Ted Goddard, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Angle, on 01437 763675 or Danielle Rush, Public Relations Manager (Wales & the West) on 07786668829 or 01745585162 or by email: or RNLI Public Relations on 01202336789


Byline: At 3.20pm on Tuesday the 24th of September, 2013 volunteer crew members from Criccieth’s RNLI lifeboat station were tasked to rescue a stricken vessel off Morannedd Rocks.
Page Content: The crew launched after the station’s Operations Manager raised the alarm after watching the speedboat getting into difficulty and spoiling its propeller near the beach.  The station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Doris Joan was quickly on scene and established a towing line between the stricken vessel and the lifeboat.

The 18ft speedboat with 4 persons on board had set off earlier from Barmouth.  Prior to the lifeboat launching, one occupant had come ashore and caught a train back to Barmouth to get their recovery vehicle and trailer.  However, it was decided that the safest option was to tow the speedboat back towards Barmouth before handing the tow to Barmouth’s RNLI inshore rescue boat.


For further information, please contact Ifer Gwyn Criccieth Lifeboat Press Officer on 07554445316  or       


Byline: Volunteers from the RNLI are currently in North Carolina, USA, training alongside globally-recognised emergency response teams in a major flood rescue exercise.
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The team arrived in Charlotte on Sunday (29 September). The exercise will test the RNLI’s deployment process and logistics, equipment and working overseas. All of those attending the exercise are doing so in their own time.

Since arriving at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the team have undertaken a series of boat rescue exercises in the river’s rapids, which are popular with whitewater rafters, canoeists and kayakers. Night search operations were also undertaken in the dense forestland of the Nantahala National Park. 

On Wednesday, the team carried out winching exercises with two Black Hawk helicopters from NCHART (North Carolina Helo Aquatic Rescue Team) at Lake James, near Nebo. The idea behind the exercise is to give flood team members an appreciation for what it is like for a casualty – from the extreme rotor wash, to being winched and being in a helicopter. Later, wide area search patterns were practised by the teams on the water of Lake James.

Robin Goodlad, Flood Response Manager at the RNLI, says: ‘The opportunity to train alongside these globally-respected organisations who have had experience at numerous major flood events will be of huge benefit to the RNLI. Similarly, we will bring our 190 years of water rescue expertise to share with our US counterparts.

‘Our friends at US Airways have been incredibly generous in providing us with flights at a very low cost, which, as a charity with a responsibility to spend our generous donors’ money wisely, means we’re able to take advantage of this fantastic offer to draw on the experiences of our counterparts in the United States.’

RNLI Flood Rescue Team (FRT) members are all either serving volunteer lifeboat crew members or operational RNLI staff who volunteer to be a part of the team.

Importantly, Charlotte Fire Department and North Carolina Emergency Department are hosting the exercise, meaning the RNLI need only fund its own travel, fuel and food – the cost of which would be the same to carry out the exercise in Scotland.

The exercise comes as parts of the US see widespread flooding following tropical storms and Hurricane Ingrid. More than 2,000 tourists have been evacuated by helicopter after landslides blocked roads.

In 2012, three members of the RNLI’s Flood Rescue Team were honoured with bronze medals for gallantry – the first RNLI medals awarded to a rescue in flood conditions – following the rescue of a woman clinging to a tree in flood waters in Devon.

The RNLI’s International Flood Rescue Team (iFRT) was formed in 2000 following the Mozambique floods of the same year where some 10,000 people were aided. The team is available to be tasked to any incident of inland flooding anywhere in the world within 24 hours.

Keep up to date with the trip with photos and videos posted on the RNLI’s Twitter feed, @RNLI, during the exercise.


RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact:
• Lauren Hockey, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 336134 / 07884 117369 or by email at

Notes to editors
o Attached photographs show RNLI volunteers training at the Nantahala River. Please credit Nantahala Outdoor Center.  
o During the week-long exercise, RNLI volunteers will work closely with the Charlotte Fire Department and North Carolina Emergency Management, as well as the North Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team. The exercise is being led by Batallion Chief Rogers, a globally respected and driving figure in flood response, having co-ordinated the response following the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Floyd and Irene.
o Formed in 2000, the RNLI’s Flood Rescue Team is available to deploy anywhere in the world where waterborne search and rescue is needed due to natural disaster. It is supported and sponsored by Toolstation, Britain’s leading tool supply company.
o RNLI FRT members are all either serving volunteer lifeboat crew members or operational RNLI staff who volunteer to be a part of the team. The RNLI FRT depends on donations from the public and from organisations to fund specialist training and equipment.
o One of the RNLI Flood Rescue Team’s most challenging deployments was to the floods at Cockermouth at the end of 2009 where over 200 people were rescued from the rapid influx of water.


Byline: Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat was launched this afternoon (23 Sept) when it was reported that two jet skiers were in difficulties nearly five miles south east of Sovereign Harbour.
Page Content: The two jet skiers were attempting a passage from Newhaven to the Sovereign Light Tower when one of the craft suffered engine failure. The initial intention was for the still operational craft to tow the disabled one back to Newhaven but it quickly became evident that this operation was rapidly using up too much fuel to get back to safe waters. With no operational VHF radio, contact was made by mobile telephone to Dover Coastguard who requested the launch of the lifeboat. Due to the distance offshore the ALB was tasked rather than the inshore lifeboat which is generally intended for rapid response closer inshore. Having received precise details of the exact location, and guided by a flare fired by the skiers, the ALB was quickly on scene. The stricken craft was taken under tow back to Sovereign Harbour while the other craft followed under its own power.

Later Coxswain Mark Sawyer remarked that it was unfortunate that these two experienced and generally well equipped individuals lacked a vital piece of kit, a working VHF radio, and that they were lucky that their mobile phone signal was strong enough to make the emergency call.


Byline: A group of dedicated lifeboat supporters are celebrating today after completing a gruelling relay triathlon to raise more than £17,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
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The team of ten, made up of volunteer lifeboat crew members and RNLI staff, rolled into Paris by bike to arrive at the Eiffel Tower just after 7pm UK time on Saturday 21 September.

Their arrival in Paris was the culmination of a four-day triathlon which saw them run 117km from London to Dover, swim the English Channel from Dover to Calais, and cycle 287km from Calais down to Paris.

The event, named “Tower 2 Tour”, was the brainchild of Toni Scarr, volunteer lifeboat crew member at Tower RNLI Lifeboat Station on the River Thames, who aimed to raise £13,000 to fund the annual training costs of training ten new lifeboat crew members.

The finish was made all the more special by the surprise proposal of marriage to group leader Toni Scarr beneath the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower.

In actual fact, the team have raised a whopping £17,600, smashing their original target by thousands. Toni said: ‘After many months of preparation and countless hours logistics planning, we finally made it on Saturday evening! The last few days have been interesting to say the least, with broken sleep, some rather odd nutritional choices, and a heck of a lot of physical effort. But what an adventure it has been!’

The team set off from Tower RNLI Lifeboat Station at 3.30am on Wednesday, taking it in turns to run various distances of between 8-20km, reaching Dover RNLI Lifeboat Station just before 3.15pm.

Toni said: ‘We were watching the weather forecast all throughout Wednesday in the hope that we would be able to keep to our scheduled Channel swim time of 6pm that evening. Sadly, the weather was against us, and we had to stay in Dover overnight.’

As an insurance policy in case the weather did not improve, the team decided to swim the equivalent distance of swimming the English Channel by completing 34km within the walls of Dover harbour. ‘Thankfully we got the all-clear to swim on Friday morning,’ said Toni, ‘so we stayed in Dover one more night and we set off at 8am on Friday morning. 17 hours and 22 minutes later we reached France after an exhausting day and night of sea swimming.’

The final leg began immediately on reaching land, with the team cycling in pairs throughout the night and early hours of Saturday, finishing with all ten cycling through central Paris to arrive at the Eiffel Tower by bicycle.

Toni said: ‘We wanted to raise money for the RNLI, and we certainly did that. But we also wanted to increase awareness of the work of the lifeboats in London, and we hope that the sight of ten exhausted people traversing their way from Dover to Paris in our branded clothing will have raised awareness, if a few eyebrows as well!’

The team consisted of Tower lifeboat crew members Toni Scarr, Nick Sammons, Robin Jenkins, Stephen Wheatley, Mark Novelle, and Giles Harrison; RNLI Public Relations Manager Tim Ash, Gravesend RNLI helmsman Ian Smith, and lifeboat supporters Jon Fowler and Naomi Climer.’

However, the trip simply would not have been possible without the invaluable contribution made by others, including fellow lifeboat crew member Matthew Leat, who was responsible for the difficult job of navigation, coordinating the team, and logistics. Toni said: ‘The ten of us did what we were supposed to do when we were supposed to do it, but there is no way on earth that would have happened without our support crew who made sure everyone and everything was in the right place at the right time. Matthew Olivier, Kathryn Webech and Claire Morgan from EEP Events were our support drivers, and EEP also loaned us three vehicles to make this all possible.’

In addition, the team would like to thank sports brand Aquasphere Ltd, who provided wetsuits and goggles, and Mike Oram, Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, for providing the pilot vessel at a discounted price. 

The full breakdown of timings for each leg of the relay triathlon is as follows:
• 117km run from Tower RNLI to Dover RNLI – 11 hours, 48 minutes.
• 34km swim from Shakespeare Beach, Dover, to X beach, Calais – 17 hours, 22 minutes, 15 seconds.
• 287km cycle from Calais to Eiffel Tower, Paris – 16 hours, 45 minutes, 6 seconds.

The Tower to Tour event has a website where people can find out more and sponsor the group still

Twitter: @Tower2Tour

Facebook: Tower2Tour

RNLI media contacts

Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /

 For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789