Ayrshire lifeboat crew issue rubber dinghy warning after rescues and ‘false alarms’ during manic weekend



An Ayrshire lifeboat crew urged beachgoers to leave the inflatables at home after two people were rescued on a manic weekend.

Troon RNLI handled seven calls in just 24 hours as beach visitors took advantage of the summer heatwave.

In two separate emergencies, the crew rushed to rescue the victims who were stranded on rubber dinghies that had been washed out to sea.

During a weekend that has seen tragedies in Scottish waters, experienced lifeboat operators are urging shore visitors to stay safe.

Coxswain Jim Millar said Ayrshire Live: “This week we have seen tragic accidents that can happen in the water.

“It has been a busy weekend for us, with the weather so hot the water can be so inviting, but we have to remind people to stay safe.

“One thing we cannot stress enough is that people leave inflatables at home. They are designed for the pool, not the sea.

“Last week, between Thursday and Wednesday, the wind changed direction to become a north coast wind.

“This means that everything about inflatables only goes one way, which is to sea.

“Inflatable unicorns, inflatable boats – they’re all for swimming pools.

Lifeboat crews faced a busy weekend as beaches crowded

“If you’re on one, then very quickly you could be a half to a mile offshore – in the blink of an eye.”

The lifeboat crews had to rescue two people from inflatables, one near Ardrossan and another near Stevenston who was helped by a paddle boarder on Friday July 23.

The crew were also called to several “false alarms” which saw inflatables adrift – which rescuers said could delay response times in an actual emergency.

At one point, the team hoisted at least 12 wrecked canoes to avoid further confusion.

Coxswain Millar added, “When we came back from a call, we had to retrieve at least a dozen more inflatable boats that had drifted off.

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“We picked them up to save someone else calling him. From a yacht or a smaller boat, it might look like someone is in danger.”

Ayrshire lifeboat crews have also urged ‘float for a living’ safety measures following tragic drownings in Loch Lomond and the central belt.

Troon Lifeboat Community Safety Officer Vince McWhirter said: “After so many tragic incidents across the UK over the past week, we urge the public to think about their own safety when they visit on the coast and follow a few simple steps to stay safe: leave the inflatables at home.They are designed for the pool – not the sea.

“If you find yourself struggling in the water, remember to ‘float for a living’.

“If you see someone in difficulty at sea or along the coast, dial 999 and ask for the coast guard.”

More information on water safety can be found on the RNLI Respect Water Campaign here.

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