The first of three weekends packed with learning saw 13 new coastguard rescue officers acquiring core skills for their new role as life-saving volunteers.
On Saturday and Sunday (15 and 16 October) costal operations area commander Murdo Macaulay, senior coastal officer Ron Maclean and maritime rescue co-ordination commander David Smith took the new recruits through the basic skills of pre-hospital care, stretcher packaging, knots, anchors and rigging.
Between now and their ‘graduation’ on Monday 28 November they will complete training in the basic skills needed to participate in search and rescue operations, care for casualties and to operate safely in a wide variety of environments.
This weekend remained focused in and around the HM Coastguard coastal operations base at Goat Island, and in November the same group will return to Goat Island for the first of their intensive three-day weekends, concentrating exclusively on medical and casualty care.
For their final weekend search skills and the ability to work with the coastguard helicopter will be drilled into them, and everything they have learnt will be consolidated and tested at locations around Stornoway.
Area commander Murdo Macaulay said: “From the moment the final course is completed, all of the recruits will become operational. Indeed, we have had one intake where the people finished the course and were called out on the same night.
“This is eight days of rigorous training which will prepare 13 individuals to contribute strongly to the safety and well-being of their community – and there will be six more for the Western Isles when we have completed our next training course in Skye and Lochaber.
“The recruits will be part of operational teams in Ness, Bragar, Miavaig, Stornoway, Harris and Lochboisdale.
“We are always keen to see more recruits, especially for North Uist, Benbecula and Barra, if anyone would like to approach us to find out more.”
The picture shows recruits learning new skills at Stornoway on Saturday.