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Kessock RNLI celebrates 30th anniversary

By Alexandra Baff

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The volunteer crew at Kessock RNLI has celebrated the station's 30th anniversary.

In 1992, the Harbour Master at Inverness approached the RNLI to raise the issue of North Kessock getting its own lifeboat station and in spring of the next year a trial run was agreed.

Alan McDiarmid, Kessock RNLI deputy launching authority, recalled a number of years ago: "The RNLI had a very different guise in those days, with crew wearing normal wellies and what can only be described as a motorbike helmet, bearing in mind the letters 'PPE' had only been developed a year or two before. Nothing like today's crew's steel toe cap, anti-slip wellies, and Gecko helmets, which the RNLI have developed and are now copied around the world.

"Due to a lack of floodlights on the D class boat that was stationed in North Kessock, it was agreed the crew would launch during daylight hours, from spring until autumn, thus meaning there was no overnight cover, and from when the clocks changed there was no cover at all. This made things difficult if the crew were called out in the early evening, as there was no idea how long the incident would take, and LED torches weren't developed until the late 90s."

It was decided in 1994 that the lifeboat station was to become a full-time operation and Kessock RNLI now has around 15 volunteer lifeboat crew, along with 10 shore crew and a team of officers and fundraisers.

Shane Warde, Kessock RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, said: "The crew are all volunteers, giving their time and expertise for free. No matter what time, day or night, when the pager goes, they respond. Half eaten dinners are left on the table, hair can be washed and not dried. They miss out on life events, friends' barbecues, weddings and parties, all to ensure the waters around the Moray Firth are as safe as can be."

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