Coastguard Rescue Teams are involved in exercises across the Islands over coming weeks.

They announced yesterday that: “We will be conducting some training in the Castle Grounds, Stornoway (Marybank Lodge and sawmill area) over the following dates:

  • Saturday 9th February - day time
  • Tuesday 12th February - evening
  • Wednesday 13th February – evening

“There will be Coastguards in hi-viz clothing and vehicles parked at the entrance but no disruption to public activity.  Thanks to The Stornoway Trust for access and permission.”

Training in search and rescue is ramping up over the next few months as all emergency services prepare for the implementation of new guidelines.

On Thursday February 7th Coastguard Rescue Team members from Bragar, Ness and Stornoway were at Stornoway Coastguard Operations Centre with coastal officers and partner agencies including Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team and Police Scotland.

Special protocols on searching for vulnerable people such as those with dementia were part of the exercise planning.

Coastal operations manager Murdo Macaulay said: “There is a big drive currently to fall in line with new guidelines from the Police Search Governance Board and, although many of the key areas are already what we do, we have taken the opportunity to tighten up procedures.

“A search needs to be planned and organised at a command centre on site and this is among the procedures we’ll refresh on.

“We’ll be spending time over the next weeks with all of our CRT teams, starting on Saturday February 9th with a search technician exercise around the town centre and Castle Grounds. There’ll be more training next week and we’ll be in Tarbert on February 18th and 19th.

“Since October 1st there have been six incidents in Lewis where we have deployed search teams, with a 100% success rate in finding the person safe and well, mostly in under an hour. That’s something we intend to maintain to the best of our ability.”


The picture shows a search planning exercise at Stornoway COC on Thursday morning (HM Coastguard – Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber).