Sea search after Mayday call for person in water at Macduff Harbour

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew from Macduff RNLI launched after Aberdeen Coastguard received a Mayday call from a marine radio

Shortly after 10pm last night (16 April 2016) Aberdeen Coastguard received a Mayday call on marine radio channel 16 stating: ‘person in the water Macduff Harbour’.

The Coastguard was not able to make any further contact with the person who made the call or gain any further details. Macduff lifeboat was requested to launch. The volunteer crew were paged at 10:12pm, lifeboat Lydia Macdonald was launched and on scene at 10:18pm where they were tasked with searching Macduff Harbour and its approaches.

Teams from HM Coastguard bases at Banff, Gamrie, Portsoy and Portknockie were mobilised and sent to the Banff Bay area to perform a coastline search. Coastguard Helicopter, Rescue 951, was requested from Inverness to assist with the search.

Macduff lifeboat crew concluded the search of Macduff Harbour with nobody found, they were further tasked by the Coastguard with searching the Banff Bay area. Buckie RNLI was requested to assist with the search of the outer bay and provide safety cover for the Macduff lifeboat and crew.

The search continued until around midnight when the volunteers were stood down. Macduff lifeboat returned to the harbour where it was recovered, washed, refuelled and returned to service by 1am.

Volunteer crew member Ritchie Wallace, who has recently completed the RNLI Search And Rescue Navigation (SAR Nav) course at the RNLI college in Poole said: ‘After launching we carried out a search of the harbour basins, before moving out in to Banff Bay. The conditions in the bay last night were challenging with moderate winds of force 4 to 5 and a swell of around three meters.’

‘We continued to perform our search in the bay and around the mouth of the River Deveron. We were supported in the search by the Buckie lifeboat and Rescue 951 from Inverness.’

Ritchie continued: ‘It was good to put in to practice the skills that I learnt on the SAR Nav course. Fortunately there was nobody found in danger or in the water during the shout.’

Macduff RNLI Coxswain Chassey Findlay said: ‘I am concerned that the mayday call came from someone with access to a marine radio.’

‘Making a Mayday call on a marine radio is a serious as calling 999, it is something that should only be done in emergencies.’ 

‘I would ask whoever it was that made the call, to come forward it may be that the call was made with good intent but was a false alarm. I would urge anyone who has any information about the call please speak to the Coastguard, the police or us at Macduff Lifeboat Station.’

Notes for editors

•    RNLI Macduff lifeboat Lydia Macdonald is a B class Atlantic 85 which carries 4 crew.
•    Lydia Macdonald is unique within the RNLI being the only lifeboat that is launched from a mobile crane. This method of launch allows the lifeboat to be launched from other locations should the need arise.

RNLI media contacts:

Mike Rawlins, Macduff RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07720 288366

Or Richard Smith, Public Relations Manager Scotland on 01738 642956, 07786 668903 or

Or Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026,

Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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