The shouts may have been coming in less frequently than earlier in this busy year for Tobermory RNLI lifeboat – but the volunteer crew is busy training to keep their skills up to date.
Over two weeks at the end of November, the crew gave up 20 hours to take on the RNLI’s unique casualty care course with an instructor from the RNLI College in Poole.
Instead of a traditional first aid syllabus focused on diagnosis, the check card based system is based on what the crew member sees and therefore knows – a symptom driven approach.
After an intensive two weeks involving theory sessions, practical scenarios and two written exam papers, the crew passed the course which is not only approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) but is recognised by the College of Paramedics, the Anaesthetic, Trauma and Critical Care Group and the Royal College of Surgeons.
But casualty care isn’t the only skill which the crew have been working on in recent months.
In addition to weekly training on the lifeboat, several of the crew have attended week long courses at the RNLI College in Poole, taking advantage of its world class training facilities.
In late September, three crew members successfully completed the RNLI’s search and rescue navigation course. This teaches the techniques to search for and locate a casualty through a combination of theory sessions and practical scenarios, afloat in one of the RNLI’s training vessels and in the College’s simulator.
Two other members of the crew also attended the College in the autumn, successfully passing the Approved Engineering Certificate. Over the winter, members of the crew will be studying for their Day Skipper qualification with Second Coxswain James Fairbairns who is a fully qualified RYA Instructor.
Lifeboat Operations Manager, Ian Stevens says: ‘The winter months tend to be quieter in terms of shouts for Tobermory. However, there is no let up for the volunteer crew who continue to give up their time to ensure that they are fully trained to carry out their roles on the lifeboat. And whilst the shouts may have tailed off, they are still ready to respond to their pagers should the need arise – 24/7 – whatever the weather.’
Crew member Dr Sam Jones’ photograph above shows Volunteer Crew Robin Harrowsmith in the orange basket stretcher during a practical scenario. He looks as if he’s not sure whether to welcome or resist the ‘rescue’.
For the record, in 2013, the Tobermory crew carried out 39 rescues. They also received an RNLI commendation for their epic 31 hour shout in support of the grounded cargo ship MV Fri Ocean – an incident on which the Marine Accident Investigation Board [MAIB] has recently reported.