This was demonstrated when six foot eight crewmember, Matt McWhir donned the lifejacket next to five foot crewmember, Joy Cameron.
Author: Martin Douglas, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
The latest investment in technology and design has brought an innovative new lifejacket to the volunteer crew at Loch Ness RNLI as part of a roll out programme that will see every RNLI station supplied with a piece of equipment that is better suited to the the demanding rescue environment.
Both variants of the lifejacket, matched to inshore and all weather lifeboats, are more buoyant and allow better freedom of movement whilst having increased storage areas for flares, casualty care cards and other vital pieces of kit.
Loch Ness RNLI crew member Vivian Bailey says: “When conditions are rough and we’re out in total darkness, it really is reassuring to know that we have the best kit available keeping us safe and focused on the task in hand.”
Developed in partnership with Crewsaver, every aspect of the new design has been produced with crew in mind.
The integral safety light can be seen from over 4 kilometres away and a secondary inflation chamber and spray hood will keep crew afloat in the harshest of conditions should they themselves need assistance.
Howie Whyte is a Helm at RNLI Loch Ness and added: “This is a significant improvement in fit and wearability and the adjustment mechanism means one size fits all.”
Howie Whyte is also pictured recreating an iconic picture of Coxswain Henry Freeman.
In this photo, Howie is wearing a Kapok lifejacket, first issued in 1904.
Included in the roll out programme is the newest RNLI station based in Leverburgh, on Harris in the Western Isles, which will be opening for a twelve month trial period to increase operational lifeboat coverage between Stornoway, Barra and Portree.
RNLI Loch Ness Howie Whyte wearing a C1904 Kapok lifejacketFundraising to offset the cost of the new lifejackets is under way and the Loch Ness volunteers have had an immediate boost after receiving a cheque for £600 from a grateful family from the Aberdeen area who were rescued last year.
Councillor Richard Cowling handed the cheque over and said:”This is a small thank you for what you did for us in our time of need. Your professionalism and seamanship are to be applauded.”
Even in the depths of winter and on bitterly cold evenings, RNLI Loch Ness volunteers train and are ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (366 this year!) to answer their pagers and assist those in distress on the loch.