1 EAGLETON NOTES: Thankful Thursday: Lifeboat

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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Thankful Thursday: Lifeboat

When you live on an Island which is nearly three hours away from the mainland of Scotland by sea and it's a stormy winter night and the sea is running a colossal swell and the wind is howling storm force in opposition with huge waves, then, just occasionally, you wonder about what would happen if the sea got the better of the ship.

To be fair these days the ferry doesn't sail in the sorts of seas that it used to traverse.  People complained and in the usual way that everything is done these days, instead of saying 'well get the next ferry' they just stop the sailing when it gets that rough.

Anyway here in Stornoway covering The Minch we have the Lifeboat and the Coastguard Helicopter.

Well I am astonished.  I can't find it.  But I'm certain I've done one.  What?  A post on the Stornoway Lifeboat practising in the Bay below the house.  The funny thing is that several years ago I started a post in a similar vein.  I couldn't find it then either.  Well when the Stornoway Lifeboat was practising a few days ago I took some photos from the house.








When one lives in a country surrounded by sea and where there are thousands of ships and boats at sea at any one time one is profoundly aware of how many lives rely on the Lifeboat and Coastguard services.  This is a map, taken as I write, of the vessels carrying locator beacons in Scotland's waters in sight of a receiving station.  And there will be many more that aren't.

(Map from marine traffic.com)

So today, looking across that stretch of water that I have to cross to reach the mainland I am very, very grateful for the fact that we have people and resources devoted to our rescue in times of need.

31 comments:

  1. Be privatised if Dithery had his way, most helicopters are. The Lifeboat crews offer a unique service. They do have beautiful boats. From time to time they risk their lives to sort cuckoos out.

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    1. The Coastguard helicopters are, as you say, mostly run by private companies now but they are publicly funded. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has always been privately funded and operated from charitable donations. I suppose I'm more aware than many who live away from the coast and also because the Coastguard helicopter also trains in sight of my kitchen window. In NZ most of the finance and running of (much smaller) rescue/ambulance helicopters is done by charities. I don't think there is anything like the RNLI in New Zealand despite it's vast coastline.

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  2. God bless these brave men and women who venture out to rescue the rest of us when the weather and the seas get rough. We have them here in Western Washington too, for we have numerous sounds, lakes, rivers, as well as the Pacific Ocean. xoxox

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    1. Yes, DeeDee, they deserve all the help and thanks that they can be given.

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  3. Hey Graham!
    "The discovery of a fully rigged windsurfing board floating off Eastbourne pier yesterday (24 May) prompted a major search involving Eastbourne lifeboats, the coastguard rescue helicopter, coastguard teams and the police."
    This was the news recently from Eastbourne. Nothing was found, so the search was called off. (Or stood down, as they called it.) It impresses me that they did all that with just a floating windsurfing board!

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    1. The rescue service don't do things by halves Kay.

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  4. Knowing they're there for you in case of emergency surely gives you peace of mind.
    The marine traffic map looks somewhat hazardous with so many sailing vessels .....more of a nightmare than an air traffic controller's radar screen.

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    1. Virginia it gives great peace of mind especially when I hear of rescues so often be it people stranded on cliffs or Islands or from sinking boats.

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  5. Now I'm going to have to look up Stornoway. It sounds like an interesting place.People do not appreciate the safety services that are there for them.

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    1. Red, Stornoway is a pleasant wee town and because it's so small almost everyone knows someone involved in the rescue services.

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  6. Wonderful images Graham! What a lovely place you "migrate" to each year!!
    I think I have much to catch up on here on your blog!!

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    1. Thanks Liz. It is a wonderful place. I have been fortunate to have lived a wonderful migratory existence in two splendid places.

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  7. Looks like you had a good sunny day up there, Graham! I hope there will be some of that sunshine for us when my sister and I will be in Yorkshire from some time this afternoon until the 10th of June.

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    1. Don't expect good water in Yorkshire. In our little corner it has rained on and off for weeks, and my garden is more bog like than I've ever seen it.

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    2. Thanks Meike. Have a wonderful holiday.

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    3. okay that should have said "good weather", just got water on the brain given how much has been falling from the skies!

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  8. I'm guessing you were looking for this previous post or maybe this one or even possibly this one! Mind you this post has the better photos :)

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    1. Mark I have used Postvorta (in fact I use it a lot as you can probably tell) to try every possible word and come up with all those posts but I was convinced that I had done one of a similar training exercise a few years ago in the bay below the house just like this one.

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    2. Glad you still find postvorta useful, although I guess it can't find posts you never wrote :)

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  9. Please can we have some of your sunshine?

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    1. I suspect, CJ, that you are going to get it this weekend whilst we are being promised heavy rain.

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  10. I remember you posting about this boat before, I've since seen it on tv, there was a programme about Scotland's rescue services. Wouldn't want to live on your island without a rescue service like that!

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    1. No Pauline. In fact the Coastguard Helicopter was in use for real across the valley this morning.

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  11. Once, and only once, have I been on the ferry in very rough seas. The helicopter was flying over head and it was scary. I was so grateful to get off in Stornoway in one piece. Those men and women on the lifeboats and helicopters are just priceless. Each and every one of them is a hero .Please note: I am ordering flat calm seas for the 7am ferry across The Minch on Tuesday! It would be nice if this lovely weather on the island could follow us down to England too.

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    1. You are lucky Pat. In the 'good old days' theSuilven sailed in any weather and I've experienced some crossings of 5 and more hours: crossings from hell. They are much more circumspect these days and if it's really rough they don't sail. Fortunately I'm a reasonable sailor anyway.

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  12. Until I read this post I thought that The Minch was an intimate part of a lady's anatomy. I guess that The Minch can get very rough.

    Respect to our brave Lifeboat volunteers. The RNLI is a charity I am always happy to support. Go to http://rnli.org/

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    1. YP, I've been across the Minch in waves nearly as tall as the ferry when it was the old MV Suilven on duty. She was hellish ship to sail on because she corkscrewed in a heavy swell but she was a solid sea boat.

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  13. I couldn't agree more. There are so many things we take for granted, and really shouldn't.

    Lovely photos, as ever.

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    1. Thanks Frances. The rescue services are two things here that I, for one, really do not take for granted. In remote island communities the danger of the sea is ever-present.

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  14. I for one am grateful for the lifeboats having lived on Islands and also having a son who works on the sea.

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    1. So we have another two things in common Serenata.

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