Argyll Coastguard commander urges public to be aware

Argyll coastguard teams practise crucial search skills at Crinan Basin.

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Following a tragic weekend of drownings in Loch Lomond Argyll coastguards have called for visitors to the coast to take heed of the dangers around open water.

Coastal operations area commander for Argyll and the Isles Dave Graham said: ‘We want to see people visiting our beautiful coastline here in Argyll enjoy themselves safely and take away only happy memories.’

His comments come after HM Coastguard reported a tragically high number of accidental drownings around the UK coastline in the last few weeks.

The commander appealed for the public to follow safety advice by checking tide times and remembering the sea has currents, hidden depths and rip currents that can’t easily be seen.

He also urged beach-goers to leave inflatables at home and always ensure they have a fully charged phone with them and call 999 and ask for the coastguard if ever they need to.

‘Be careful,’ Dave added. ‘Think twice about what you’re doing at the coast that might put you, your family and friends and even those who come to rescue you in danger. Watch out for each other and those you love. Get home safe.’

The commander spoke to the Argyllshire Advertiser after a weekend of training exercises held at Crinan basin involving three Coastguard rescue teams: Tarbert, Crinan and Inveraray.

The aim of the exercise was to test the understanding of roles and responsibility during a lost and missing person search, demonstrate a structured and coordinated response, and demonstrate use of the coastguard’s deployable incident command post and mobile VHF aerial.

Dave said: ‘All three teams, led by their station officers, worked as one and performed very well to achieve their aims and find the missing person, in this case a training rescue dummy.’

All coastguard rescue teams are trained in lost and missing person searches in order to respond effectively to people in danger at the coast.

Dave added: ‘We’re very proud of our coastguard rescue officers here in Argyll.

‘The dedication to training and incident tasking is exceptional, especially considering they are all volunteers and do this over and above other work and family commitments. My team and I can’t thank them enough.’

To find out more about volunteering for HM Coastguard go to https://www.gov.uk/volunteer-as-a-coastguard or email area17@mcga.gov.uk