RNLI in focus at Ellon Probus Club meeting

Ellon Probus Club president Norman Davidson welcomed Don Montgomery as guest speaker at the recent meeting.

Don is a retired paramedic who has dedicated much of his retirement to assisting with the operations of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) at Aberdeen. He is press/educational/publicity officer for the local station.

Two lifeboats are based in Aberdeen, one a small, high-speed inshore semi-rigid inflatable with a crew of four to serve in inshore waters and a larger sea-going vessel, the “Bon Accord”, manned by a crew of six for offshore rescues.

Organised sea rescue operations were first set up on the Isle of Man in 1824, in the days of sailing ships, by a Sir William Hillary. This body was initially named The National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck but in 1854 changed its name to RNLI with the first vessel being based at Douglas, Isle of Man.

Currently the RNLI operates 236 lifeboat stations and 444 lifeboats covering the coasts of UK and Ireland. It also provides a rescue service on more than 200 UK beaches and flood rescue assistance as required.

The organisation is an independent charitable institution funded through public donations and legacies. New lifeboats, depending on size, range in price from £1-2 million.

RNLI crew members are predominantly unpaid volunteers who are fully committed to giving their time and energies to the saving of the lives of others. There is no government involvement.

On rescue missions the RNLI works in close association with the UK Coastguard.

Frank Anderson gave the vote of thanks. The next meeting, the 2015 AGM, is today (Thursday).