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Campbeltown Lifeboat Station has issued a fresh warning to beachgoers after its first call-out of 2021 involved the multi-agency rescue of a child on an inflatable.
The RNLI Campbeltown crew was paged at 1.25pm following reports of a 12-year-old girl being blown off-shore on an inflatable near Blackwaterfoot on the Isle of Arran.
By 1.32pm, Campbeltown’s all-weather lifeboat, the Ernest and Mary Shaw, was launched with coxswain Fraser McNair, navigator Archie McFadyen, mechanic Robbie Lamont and crew members Willie Livingstone, Gregor Menzies, Warren Tait and David Mullen onboard.
When the lifeboat arrived at the scene, Rescue 199 coastguard helicopter from HM Coastguard Prestwick was already in attendance but had chosen not to attempt a rescue because of the capsize risk from the rotor downwash.
Campbeltown’s lifeboat was guided into shallow water where crewman Gregor entered the sea and assisted the girl on to the boat.
Arran’s inshore lifeboat then transferred the girl ashore to waiting and anxious friends.
The Ernest and Mary Shaw returned to Campbeltown at 3.25pm.
Following the rescue, which involved two RNLI lifeboats, one search and rescue helicopter and one warship, Campbeltown RNLI coxswain David Cox has issued a fresh reminder to people about beach safety and the dangers of using inflatables.
He said: ‘Inflatables really are not designed for beach use and if they are used, users should only do so in a wind onshore situation, and under STRICT supervision. The use of inflatables should be restricted to pools, ponds and small lakes.’
In the event of an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.