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Macduff Lifeboat launches to grounded boat

Lifeboats News Release

Macduff RNLI's Atlantic 85 lifeboat Lydia Macdonald was launched to assist the crew of a grounded boat off Whitehills

At 13:24 on Friday 15 November, Macduff lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard in Aberdeen to assist a small boat which had run aground off Whitehills, 3 nautical miles west of Macduff.

The volunteer crew of four made best speed to the casualty and helicopter Bond 1 which was training in the local area, diverted to assist.

On arrival, the lifeboat found the crew of two on the rocks with the boat which was well aground. Due to the sea state and the shallow water around the casualty it was decided that Bond 1 would winch the crew from the rocks to safety. The crew were taken from the rocks and landed ashore where they were passed into the care of the local Coastguard team.

The casualty vessel was left aground and the lifeboat was stood down by Aberdeen Coastguard, returning to Macduff Harbour for recovery at 14:35.

The lifeboat was washed, refuelled by 15:30. Helmsman James West called Aberdeen Coastguard to return the lifeboat back ready for service and was told that they were being tasked back to the casualty vessel off Whitehills, where two people had been seen by local Coastguards with the casualty vessel. The actions of these two people caused the Coastguards to have immediate concern for their safety.

Lydia Macdonald relaunched at 15:40 and returned to the location of the casualty vessel off Whitehills where they stood by while the local Coastguard personnel spoke with the people who were with the vessel and persuaded them to come ashore. The lifeboat was stood down for the second time at 16:30.

The crew and lifeboat were recovered at Whitehills Harbour, they returned to Macduff by road where the lifeboat was washed and refuelled, returning ready for service at 17:45.

Helmsman James West said: ‘the crew of the casualty vessel were fortunate that the lifeboat and helicopter were both available to assist them when they ran aground this afternoon. While the casualty appears to be not too far from land, the waters around this part of the coast can be quite unpredictable, with lots of rocky outcrops and crags that can’t always be seen, it is quite easy for waves to come at you from unexpected directions.’

Macduff Lifeboat Operations Manager, Roy Morrison said: ‘it was unfortunate that the casualty vessel ran aground this afternoon, but the lifeboat and helicopter were on hand to rescue the crew from any danger quickly and effectively.

‘To be called out a second time to the same location is disappointing and worrying. Our lifeboat volunteers and members of our partners in the Coastguard go out in all weathers and any time of day or night to assist people in danger, we do not expect to be called back to the same location to assist people for a second time with such a short space of time.

Macduff Coxswain Chassey Findlay said of the afternoons events: ‘I am concerned that after an operation with a rescue helicopter and a lifeboat, someone would think it was sensible to go and put themselves in danger in the situation and location that had been the focus of a rescue operation only a short time earlier.

‘I have to stress that Human life is worth more than any vessel and this afternoon could have turned out very differently.’

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 stored, transported and launched from a LGV with its own 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 Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), 07826 900639
  • Or Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Officer (Scotland), 07920 365929
  • Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

RNLI/James West

Rescue Bond 1 on scene at Whitehills

RNLI/James West

Boat aground at Whitehills

RNLI/James West

Helicopter winching at Whitehills

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.