RNLI Statement: Peterhead RNLI temporarily off-service

Lifeboats Statement

The RNLI has taken the decision to stand down a small number of volunteers at Peterhead Lifeboat Station, resulting in the lifeboat being taken temporarily off service.

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This action is a last resort and follows many attempts to tackle a lack of mutual trust, good communication and teamwork among the crew which has become so serious that the station is no longer capable of operating safely and effectively.

The decision to relieve volunteers of their duties follows a recent crew meeting, attended by senior RNLI operational personnel, which saw some of the crew continue to exhibit negative behaviours that have been challenged for many years.

The RNLI has put much time and resource into trying to support the volunteer crew and tackle the problems at Peterhead Lifeboat Station, including dedicated staff support and the use of a trained mediator. Attempts to recruit new staff and volunteers have failed. The RNLI has previously met with, and written to, some of those concerned to explain the type of behavioural changes that need to be made. Unfortunately, some crew members have been unable to work together to put the lifesaving service before their own personal rivalries and historic disagreements, resulting in the decision that they can no longer remain as part of the crew.

As an emergency service, the RNLI has a responsibility to ensure the safety of our crews, our partners and those whose lives we save. We can only help others if we work as a team and keep ourselves safe first. Maintaining high standards and adhering to required protocol and behaviours is the cornerstone of any emergency service. Trust between our crew members is an essential element of the lifesaving operation – our volunteers have to be able to rely on each other and work as a team when called out to deal with high risk and dynamic rescue operations.

We are committed to our lifeboat station at Peterhead and are taking immediate action to resolve the situation. In the right environment, we are confident that the remaining crew can operate a safe, effective and sustainable rescue service and we will be working closely with them over the coming months to get the lifeboat back on service as quickly as possible.

In the interim, lifesaving cover will be provided by flanking stations at Fraserburgh and Aberdeen, along with other non-RNLI assets, and the Coastguard is fully aware of the situation. Fraserburgh and Aberdeen lifeboat stations will receive additional support during this time to allow us to maintain comprehensive 24/7 rescue cover.

We’re looking forward to working with the remaining crew and thank them for the commitment that they’ve shown to Peterhead Lifeboat. We are confident that the remaining crew will communicate well and work together as a team to provide an excellent and well-functioning emergency response service to the Peterhead area. We’re now focussing on working with them to bring the boat back on service as quickly as possible.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.