Jim Redmond from RNLI

Our guest speaker Jim Redmond, on the challenges and work of the ‘Royal National Lifeboat Institution’ generally referred to as the ‘RNLI’. Jim was born and brought up in Ayr, initially trained as a baker before joining the rescue and fire service where he served for 19 yrs. He then medically retired from the fire service, and following a series of studies and examinations, has been practising as a Health and Safety Consultant for over 26 years. Jim joined the RNLI as a volunteer 6 years ago becoming a fully qualified Deputy Launching Authority, and then as Lifeboat Operations Manager for Troon RNLI 4 years ago.

Jim Redmond

Jim began by advising that the RNLI was founded by Sir William Hillary in 1824, a retired soldier who lived on the Isle of Man, even older than the Coast Guard. He then detailed the facts behind this venerable charity including 4800 volunteers, 238 operational lifeboat stations covering the UK, Eire and the Isle of Man.

Troon’s lifeboat house was constructed in 1871 at a cost of £250. In 2023 this same house would cost £11m and in 1971 Troon received Centenary Vellum an award presented by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to its lifeboat stations which have been in service for 100 years.

On Thursday 9 June 2016, a thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was presented to Coxswain Colin (Joe) Millar and Girvan’s Second Coxswain Gary McGarvie following a callout on 14th January 2015 when a 140-tonne trawler had fouled its propeller six miles off Troon in rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. The impressive team work of Coxswains Joe Millar and Gary McGarvie saved four people from a perilous situation, while also ensuring their own crews stayed safe.

On Thursday 9th June 2016Volunteers come from all walks of life; police; firefighters; chefs; air traffic controllers; utilities and oil rigs, however no fisherman.

Once a pager goes off, a boat can be launched within 7/8 minutes and the crewing roles are decided by the Lifeboat Operations Manager and the Coxwain based on experience of the person and the potential dangers of the “shout”

Jim related several stories of rescues including the family which requested their £500 inflatable be returned after a helicopter rescued the family from certain catastrophe. They were reminded of the helicopter rescue cost.

In conclusion, Jim told his audience about “Dead Fred”  a dummy which is used to specifically help crews develop manual-handling and searching skills so it’s not meant to look much like a person. It’s humanoid in shape but doesn’t have any facial features. The important bit is that it handles like a real person. It flops in a similar way to what an unconscious casualty would. And is heavy so crew can practice correct lifting techniques, putting it in stretchers and using the double strop recovery system they have on all-weather lifeboats.

Harry Jackson delivered a worthy vote of thanks.