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Tobermory RNLI is urging people to stay landlocked on lockdown.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the lifeboat station on Mull is asking people to think very carefully whether heading out onto the water is an essential activity and to consider the impact it might have on the emergency services if they get into difficulty.
After a number of incidents at the weekend where RNLI lifeboats were tasked to incidents involving recreational craft and water users such as yachts and kayakers, the RNLI and the UK Coastguard have asked people to follow government advice and stay close to home to take their daily exercise.
Coxswain David McHaffie said: ‘Whilst we remain ready to respond to emergencies at sea 24/7 during the current crisis, every lifeboat launch increases the risk of spreading the virus. It may also impede our ability to respond to future incidents if the lifeboat has to be taken off service for a deep clean or if our crew have to self-isolate or become ill. We completely understand that people will want to take to the water, particularly as the weather improves, but we would ask people to consider the possible impact which this might have on the RNLI and other emergency services. By staying off the water, you can also be a lifesaver. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives’.
Tobermory Harbour is shut to visiting non-essential traffic.
Tobermory Harbour Manager and Tobermory RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, Rob MacDonald said: ‘As the summer season approaches and the weather improves, we are asking our stakeholders and customers to be thoughtful, consider others and follow government advice. It is essential that we relieve the pressure on our emergency services and work together to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. Please do not take to the water unless it is absolutely necessary: people’s lives could depend on it. If you do have to, ensure you take all steps to remain safe and minimise risk.’
While Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew are ready to respond to their pagers to save lives at sea, one crew member has helped provide PPE to local NHS staff. In conjunction with the Mull and Iona Community Trust, crew member and architect Will Thorne has used his 3D printer to make protective visors which have been trialled successfully at the local hospital.