Peterhead RNLI return to service with epic shout and crew celebration
There was standing room only on Monday night (28 October), as Peterhead’s volunteer lifeboat crew met at their station to review Sunday’s long, rough weather shout, to celebrate the ‘passing-out’ of a colleague to Mechanic, and to share the news that the station would return to full-service.
Peterhead’s volunteer lifeboat crew have attended six shouts in the last few weeks, collaborating on many with multi-agency partners and on Sunday, faced down a force eight gale to rescue a 160 tonne fishing boat, acting as a guard vessel, which was in distress 25 miles, off the coast. The shout saw Peterhead’s volunteer crew establish a tow and spend over 12 hours bringing the vessel back towards the safety of Peterhead harbour. Speaking about the job, Martyn Simpson, Peterhead volunteer Navigator said: “The crew did a brilliant job in some very challenging conditions. When the pagers go you never know what you’re going to face and at 0630 on a Sunday morning, that’s no different. We dealt with some huge seas and establishing a tow multiple times, after it parted due to the conditions, was no easy task but there was great team spirit and I think everyone was glad to eventually get back to dry land, it’s a shout we’ll remember for a while”.
The Peterhead crew were assisted by their colleagues from, flanking station, Aberdeen, who took over the tow after 10 and a half hours. Aberdeen’s volunteer Coxswain Davie Orr said: “Our volunteer crew trains for this type of service all the time. Despite the two vessels heaving in the swell, they quickly established the tow and we began making around 4 knots toward Peterhead.” Aberdeen’s volunteer crew delivered the casualty vessel to Peterhead’s outer harbour around 1am on Monday morning. The tow was transferred to the Peterhead harbour tug, allowing Aberdeen Lifeboat to return to her base by around 2am.
Monday night also saw Peterhead’s crew celebrate with home baking as Davie Weir was officially ‘passed-out’ as an RNLI mechanic and received his boat’s officer’s hat. Davie was handed the hat by Jurgen Wahle, Peterhead’s Lifeboat Operations Manager. Davie, who is a police diver, was joined by his wife Caroline, also an RNLI volunteer in fundraising, for the celebration. Davie said: “This has been a real team effort, the support from all of you has been fantastic, thank you. I think I might have set a record for the time between passing and being on a shout, the pager went seconds after my assessment finished – even though I didn’t know if I had passed at the time!” Davie had only just completed his mechanics assessment, on Wednesday 16 October, when the pagers went, meaning that he dropped everything to return to sea, without knowing whether he had passed or not. Happily he had, something he found out when he returned to the station later that evening.
During Monday night’s meeting, Jurgen Wahle, Peterhead volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager and Henry Weaver, Area Lifesaving Manager, announced to the crew that the station would be returning to full service from 9 November. Jurgen said: “A huge amount of work and dedication from volunteers and staff alike has gone into the station over the past months and it’s brilliant to see that effort paying off with the station returning to full service. Our focus is now on continuing to develop our volunteers, welcome new recruits and to, as always, provide a world class lifesaving service to our local community. Everyone at the station thanks the town for their ongoing support of the lifeboat and her crew” As volunteers and a full-time staff member, continue to train, the station will be supported by an RNLI fleet-staff Coxswain, allowing the station to return to full service.
Notes to editors
Video footage of Peterhead’s big seas/stormy shout and images of the ‘pass-out’ are available via the RNLI news centre https://rnli.org/news-and-media
RNLI media contacts
Gemma McDonald, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07826 900639, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.