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Aberdeen Lifeboat rescues two surfers being swept offshore by current

Lifeboats News Release

Aberdeen’s two RNLI lifeboats launched minutes apart around 9.00am this morning, Sunday 27 September 2020 following a call to the UK Coastguard from a member of the public concerned that two surfers appeared to be in danger at Aberdeen Harbour entrance.

Aberdeen's inshore lifeboat 'Buoy Woody 85N' searches off Aberdeen Beach

Library image courtesy Mark Gray/RNLI Aberdeen

Aberdeen's inshore lifeboat 'Buoy Woody 85N' searches off Aberdeen Beach

The surfers had paddled out beyond the surf line and were now being swept further and further offshore, unable to make their way back to shore due to a combination of tide and wind against them.

The inshore lifeboat (ILB) ‘Buoy Woody 85N’ was first on scene with her crew of three, having been guided to the precise location – around half a mile offshore at the Footdee end of Aberdeen beach - by Aberdeen Coastguard Rescue Team volunteers ashore.

The two experienced surfers were uninjured but said they were both exhausted, having been in the water for almost two hours. They and their equipment were taken aboard the ILB to be returned to shore.

With the tide approaching high water, violent surf running up the beach, and the small inflatable inshore lifeboat loaded to capacity, it was decided the safest means of extraction would be to transfer the surfers to the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) ‘Bon Accord’, which had now arrived on scene, in the calmer water beyond the surf line.

Cal Reed, Aberdeen Lifeboat’s coxswain on this service, says: “We took the surfers on board ‘Bon Accord’ and our casualty care-qualified crew confirmed they were none the worse for their experience – but grateful for the offer of assistance from the lifeboat.”

“The member of the public who made the initial phone call did the right thing: if you think you see someone in difficulty at sea, always call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

Bon Accord returned the surfers and their equipment to the lifeboat berth in Aberdeen Harbour where they met the Coastguard Rescue Team around 9.20am. The lifeboats were washed down and readied for further service by 10am.

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.