Ruaridh embraces role as full-time lifeboat coxswain

Campbeltown RNLI’s new full-time lifeboat coxswain Ruaridh McAulay with her partner Clare Lamont and their two daughters. Photograph: RNLI/Carla Jackson.
Campbeltown RNLI’s new full-time lifeboat coxswain Ruaridh McAulay with her partner Clare Lamont and their two daughters. Photograph: RNLI/Carla Jackson.

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A former lifeboat volunteer is ready to drop anchor in his hometown for good after being appointed full-time coxswain at Campbeltown Lifeboat Station.

After joining the RNLI as a lifeboat volunteer in 2016, Ruaridh McAulay set his sights on a new career as Campbeltown RNLI’s full-time coxswain, the person responsible for the safety of the crew, vessel and casualties during rescues.

After finishing school in Campbeltown, Ruaridh headed to college in Stornoway, where he gained his officer of the watch certificate.

‘I met some awesome people studying in Stornoway,’ said Ruaridh, ‘and afterwards it led me on to attending Glasgow Maritime College.’

For as long as he can remember, Ruaridh, who has a fascination with all-things on or around the ocean, wanted a career at sea.

In his previous job, he was on-board fisheries research vessel RV Cefas Endeavour for 10 years, where he started off as an able seaman before working his way up to second mate and safety officer.

‘If you are looking to have a career at sea, it can be a lot of hard work but if you’re willing to put in the hours it can be such an amazing experience,’ said Ruaridh.

‘You get the chance to see parts of the world you can’t imagine and work with amazing people from all over the world.

‘Working away from home has always been enjoyable and it made coming home that bit more special.’

It was Ruaridh’s partner Clare Lamont who introduced him to the RNLI as she was a volunteer for the charity.

Knowing his love for the sea, she thought he would enjoy the experience when he had time off at home.

Clare joined the life-saving charity in 2014 but stood down from the lifeboat crew after the exciting news the couple were expecting their first child together. They now have two children.

‘As I got older, I always missed home a bit more, especially after meeting my partner Clare and having our two wonderful children,’ Ruaridh said. ‘So, when the opportunity came up to work from home doing something I love, it was an easy choice to make.’

Not only does the new post offer Ruaridh more time at home to see his loved ones but, he added: ‘This is a chance for me to test myself in new ways and push myself to do things I never believed were possible.’

When asked what he has learnt from the RNLI so far, Ruaridh said: ‘I have learnt that volunteer lifeboat crew members throughout the RNLI come from all different walks of life and experiences.

‘Some have previous experience working at sea and others do not, but they all have the same goal – saving lives at sea.’

He added: ‘I am excited to take over and lead a dynamic and experienced crew that has been superbly trained by my predecessor David Cox.’

Ready for a new chapter, Ruaridh said: ‘I will miss some of the amazing crew members that I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years and getting the opportunity to travel to places in the UK I have never heard of before.

‘However, I am very excited about my new career with the RNLI, having the opportunity to work from my home port on an amazing piece of equipment that is our Severn class all-weather lifeboat Ernest and Mary Shaw.’