RNLI Fraserburgh called out after distress flares sighted
Fraserburgh Lifeboat was called out to search an area around Fraserburgh Bay on the evening of 1 February 2021.
Fraserburgh RNLI volunteer crew were paged at 6pm after the UK Coastguard had received several reports of red flares being seen in the area.
The Trent class all-weather lifeboat, Willie and May Gall, was quickly launched with Coxswain Vic Sutherland in command Jason Flett as mechanic, and Amy Allan, Joe Black, Mark Hadden, Stuart Ross and John Stephen as crew.
They proceeded towards the Fraserburgh Bay area where a search involving several rescue teams began.
The rescue teams did not find any evidence of vessels or anyone in distress and were stood after an intensive and thorough three hour search.
Distress Rockets/Flares are used to signal that a vessel or person is in danger while at sea and it is a criminal offence to set one off unless it is an emergency.
“Fraserburgh Lifeboat carried out an extensive search pattern lasting three hours around the area where the flares had been reported” said Coxswain Vic Sutherland
“Coastguard teams were also on the scene searching the coastline from various vantage points along the beach and dunes in almost complete darkness.
“As there were no further sightings from either the search and rescue teams or any of the local boats along the coastline, UK Coastguard stood the crew down and the lifeboat returned to station.
“We’d like to make everyone aware that it is a criminal offence to set a distress rocket/flare off, other than in a genuine emergency.
“When the rescue services are called out needlessly people’s lives are put at risk and we would ask anyone with out of date distress flares to dispose of them responsibly.
“We’d also like to thank everyone who phoned the coastguard to report the flares. When vessels and people are in distress at sea, time is of the essence and the quicker the emergency services are alerted then the more chance we have of getting there in time.
I would urge everyone to phone the coastguard if they ever see a flare going off, it may be enough to save people’s lives.”
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.