Fraserburgh Paged to Teenagers' Capsized Dinghies
Fraserburgh Lifeboat was tasked at 5.57pm on 4 September after the Coastguard had received calls that seven topper dinghies from a local sailing club had capsized in a sudden squall in Peterhead Marina and there were 10 young persons in the water.
The conditions encountered by Fraserburgh Lifeboat which were described as horrendous on its previous callout were said to be like sailing in a light breeze compared to the conditions which it encountered on this shout.
The amazing and unpredictable forces of nature were shown to devastating effect when, what started off as a fine calm summers afternoon suddenly changed as, flash violent storms whipped the seas up and down the coast into torrents of raging fury.
Experienced members of the crew agreed that it was some of the worst conditions they had seen in all their years at sea.
The pagers were activated during a Fraserburgh Lifeboat Management Group meeting.
Duty Coxswain John Stephen ran downstairs to get kitted up, as did Area Life Saving Manager Henry Weaver in case he was needed. Coxswain Vic Sutherland fired up the boat.
The response from the Fraserburgh volunteers was immediate and as they raced in to the station, enough to form two crews Henry was able to stand back. “I’d love to go but I don’t want to stand on anyone’s toes, its your shout.”
John rapidly got his crew together, leaving the berth and making best speed up the channel. As soon as they were out of the harbour they started smashing through the mountainous waves as soon as they headed towards Peterhead.
John had Shane Richardson aboard as mechanic, John May as navigator, and volunteers Steven Brown, Graeme Duthie, AJ Morgan and Martyn Runcie aboard.
The crew had an anxious trip as the coastguard kept them informed with the latest updates
Once they reached Peterhead all were pleased to hear that the youngsters had all been rescued and were all out of the water and safe and well.
In addition to the RNLI, HM Coastguard Operations Centre Aberdeen, had tasked Coastguard Rescue Officers (CRO's) from Peterhead and Cruden Bay, and 2 Coastguard rescue helicopters that were available from Inverness (R151 and Golf Xray)
They also initiated a mayday relay to all vessels in the vicinity.
Units from North East Police Division and 2 Ambulances had also been dispatched to the incident.
Coastguard Rescue Officers found 7 topper sailing dinghies from a local sailing group had been caught in a squall and the sudden deterioration in the weather had caused them to capsize.
They quickly ascertained that all ten persons in the seven boats had been recovered by the groups own safety boat.
All the participants were recovered to shore unharmed.
All were wearing wetsuits and buoyancy aids with the safety boat having a vhf radio on board.
The Rescue Helicopters were stood down the attention then turned to the recovery of the stricken sailing craft.
Fraserburgh Lifeboat helped the port authority pilot boats and private vessels recover some capsized dinghies, accepted some hospitality from the crew at Peterhead whose lifeboat is currently undergoing routine maintenance in Inverness and returns to service on Friday. Fraserburgh's crew then returned to Fraserburgh in some poor weather and even poorer seas.
Fraserburgh Lifeboat was washed down and refuelled ready for next service at 9.30
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.