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Meet Andrew: Coastguard Station Officer

In our regular feature, we join a local for a tea break, and find out how they spend their

time - and their time off. This week we welcome Andrew Morrison, from the Harris Coastguard Rescue Team.

Can you introduce yourself?

I am the Station Officer for the Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) based in Harris.

The Harris CRT comprises of 11 Coastguard Rescue Officer volunteers. We are one of nine teams throughout the Western Isles. Our primary role is to respond to coastal emergencies, delivering a specialised search and rescue service which comprises of Lost

and Missing Persons Search, Casualty Care, Water Rescue and Rope Rescue.

What is a typical shift for you?

As with all coastguard rescue teams around the UK, we are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. We do not do shifts as such. We have a body of men and women who have gone through specialist training and can be called upon in the event of an emergency.

Why did you join the Coastguard?

From a young age I have been involved in the sea, from working at fish farms to my current position as a Master/OIM in the offshore sector. Knowing that there is an emergency service such as HM Coastguard available for those in distress at sea or on the coast gives a great deal of comfort to many who use the sea either recreationally or professionally.

Being in the coastguard has always felt like a comfortable role and somewhere where I can put something back. The team give a lot of time up for training, care and maintenance of equipment along with call-outs - sometimes it

can be very quiet and sometimes it can be busy. The most I can recall is last year, when we had three in one day!

The reason it works so well is that we have a group of like-minded individuals from differing backgrounds, who make up a skilled team who are willing and able.

What have been your most memorable call-outs?

Most call-outs are memorable, but there are some stand-outs, such as when an oil rig found its way onto the shores of the west side of Lewis, and also a time where in the afternoon I was at family wedding and the early hours of the next morning I found myself part of a team heading to Barra to search for persons lost at sea. It is safe

to say that no two call-outs are exactly the same and you can always take something from it.

What’s the best thing about being in the Coastguard?

Being part of an organisation that provides a service where you have the skills and training to make a positive difference when someone might be having their worst day.

There is also variety in what we do - we can go from dealing with coastal emergencies, to

assisting the partner services in emergencies and resilience taskings anywhere

on the island and on occasion further afield.

And the worst…

Midges…in any context!

What would you tell potential recruits?

For anyone looking to apply I would point out that you do not need any specific background or experience in the maritime world - this is commo misconception. You don’t even have to like the sea, as the majority of our work is done on dry land. You just have to be willing to give up some of your time,have keenness to learn and be part of a

team. The rest you will be trained in.

We are always looking for new recruits.

Hown do you like to spend your time off?

Given that I work away from home for extended periods of time I enjoy spending

time with my family and getting on with the various projects round the

house and in the shed- of which there are many!

It’s tea break time. What’s on the menu?

Tea or coffee - both equally important! Plus a chocolate hobnob or something

old school like a Blue Riband! For information about joining the Coastguard,

email or get in touch with a local team-member.


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