Stay Home, Stay Safe and Stay Ashore

Lifeboats News Release

Lifeboat crews remind people to avoid the water after a search for missing kayakers

RNLI/Daniel Lawson

The RNLI 'Charles Lidbury' speeds away from its station in Aith

Two kayakers who were late returning to shore sparked a brief search and rescue operation in Shetland on Sunday afternoon. They were reported missing around the Maywick and Bigton area of the South Mainland at around 5pm.

The RNLI ‘Charles Lidbury’ was soon called out from the Aith Lifeboat Station to assist Coastguard crews, in case a full scale search was required. However, before the lifeboat could reach the area, the overdue kayakers were confirmed as being safe and well – and its volunteer crew were stood down after around one hour at sea.

The kayakers were spotted ashore on the uninhabited isle of South Havra, and Coastguard teams were able to confirm their identities and well-being.

Aith Lifeboat coxswain, John Robertson, said: “RNLI volunteers are always on hand to respond to emergencies at sea, but these emergencies can be avoided just now by following Government guidelines. Whilst one spell of outdoor exercise is allowed every day, the RNLI is advising folk not to exercise on or in the sea. Every time a lifeboat crew is called out during the Covid-19 crisis, it potentially exposes our volunteers - and others – to the risk of catching and spreading the virus.”

Gareth Morrison, Head of Water Safety at the RNLI, said: “Our lifeboat crews are still at the ready 24/7 – thanks to their own courage in a time of crisis, and the generosity of our supporters. Sadly, though, we can't arrange fundraising events, open our shops, or welcome people to lifeboat stations at the moment, which means that our ability to fundraise has been severely impacted. This could be the biggest storm the RNLI has ever faced.”

People are able to show their support from home, by donating online to help the RNLI replace worn out kit or repair lifeboats. To support our lifesavers, go to:

Note to editors

Aith lifeboat station has been operating for over 80 years, and is the most northerly in the UK. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:

RNLI media contacts

Daniel Lawson, Lifeboat Press Officer, 07765560695,

Gemma McDonald, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07826 900639,

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

RNLI/Daniel Lawson

The Aith Lifeboat comes back to base after two hours at sea

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.