A major sea life rescue exercise will take place on Saltcoats beach later this month.

Several different services will take part in the exercise, organised by British Divers Marine Life Rescue, which will see two life-sized whale models stranded on the beach near Oscars Cafe and the tidal pool.

And they have urged locals not to get too alarmed at the number of emergency rescue vehicles and personnel who will at the beach when the event takes place on Saturday, April 27.

The group carried a similar exercise at the beach back in 2018.

A spokesperson said: "We want to avoid any concerns that the event may be real.

"There will be a lot of people in water entry kit, a rescue trailer as well as emergency vehicles, but we can assure everyone it is a training event."

Ayrshire Today: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) organisation will work together to assess the situation, give immediate care to and then prepare the 'marine mammals'.

They will then attempt to re-float the 'mammals' when the tide allows, using specialised equipment. This process can take some time.

The rescue team will be backed up by HM Coastguard as well as Scottish Fire and Rescue and Police Scotland's senior wildlife officer.

The Scottish SPCA has also been invited to attend to see how the rescue operation takes place.

The team have to train on a regular basis, both in theory and in the water, to keep their skills fresh. 

They last trained in Largs and on the mudflats in Port Glasgow in what was difficult terrain.

Ayrshire Today: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

The spokesperson continuesd: "Our blue light partners are always invited along due to the  joint partnership and skill set we all have. They will obviously remain operational for all other 999 calls.

"The Clyde has seen its fair share of marine life recently, with sighting of humpback whales, minkie whales, northern bottlenose whales, basking sharks and orca, as well as dolphins and porpoise.

"Any of these could possibly strand or get into danger so BDMLR train for this type of situation.

"There will be a lot of activity from early that morning, as the exercise team set up the scenario, till around 4pm, when the area will be cleared.

"We ask that members of the public stay a safe distance from the exercise but are welcome to watch on. We will have someone available to talk to and answer any questions from the public or visiting media.

"The exercise is designed to look as real as possible to test the medics. The sooner we are alerted to a cetacean stranding the sooner we can get a team on location and start the rescue process."

If you see any marine cetacean in distress, then call the BDMLR's 24-hour rescue line on 01825 765546 selecting option 1.

BDMLR also deals with seal strandings.