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North Berwick and Anstruther RNLI in multi-agency search off Isle of May

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers from North Berwick RNLI joined Anstruther RNLI, HM Coastguard fixed-wing and rotatory-wing aircraft, a German Warship and near-by windfarm support vessels in a large-scale search after HM Coastguard received distress signal from an Emergency Position-Indicating RadioBeacon (EPIRB).

The EPIRB sent a distress signal though satellites to HM Coastguard who requested the launch of North Berwick lifeboat at 10.15am on Tuesday, 8 August. Once launched the lifeboat proceeded to a position 10 nautical miles north east of North Berwick, in the vicinity of the Isle of May.

The voluntary crew arrived on scene to join Anstruther’s all-weather lifeboat Kingdom of Fife which was designated as the on-scene co-ordinator for the search. North Berwick’s inshore lifeboat Evelyn M carried out a search of the area which was also being searched by coastguard air assets and other vessels in the vicinity.

The search was concluded with nothing significant found as HM Coastguard assessed that the area had been sufficiently searched and that the initial signal was likely caused by an incorrectly coded EPIRB.

Callum MacLeod, helm of North Berwick Lifeboat said; ‘This incident shows how different agencies, alongside seafarers from the wider area can work together towards a rapid response to a distress situation.’

‘After a long search, exposed to the elements on the D class we were grateful to our sister station over the water, Anstruther, who offered to pass over snacks and sugary drinks for the way back home.’

‘An EPIRB is the gold standard of distress beacon, a smaller device can be carried by kayakers or paddleboarders called a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Both give the coastguard an exact, and regularly updated position of the vessel, or individual in distress, if you’re headed out on the water a lot, these beacons can be a life saver’.

The lifeboat returned to station at 1.55pm, three and a half hours after launching having covered approximately 35 nautical miles.

Notes to editors

  • In 2022 RNLI lifeboats from 238 stations across the UK and RoI launched 9,312 times saving 389 lives, RNLI Lifeguards saved a further 117 lives.
  • It cost £1,400 a year to train each crew member in the lifesaving skills they need to answer the call for help
  • 97% of the RNLI’s frontline lifesavers are volunteers including over 5,700 lifeboat crew members.
  • In 2022 it cost the RNLI £188M to run it’s charitable lifesaving service, 6 in 10 of the lifeboat launches were funded be generous supporters leaving the RNLI a gift in their will.
  • Library footage and images of North Berwick RNLI are available on request, please use the contacts below.

RNLI media contacts

Matthew Gibbons, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer, North Berwick, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

24 hour RNLI Central Press Office, 01202 336789 or email [email protected]

Taken from a still from the D Class helmet camera with Anstruther ALB to the right and a large windfarm vessel ahead

RNLI/North Berwick

North Berwick RNLI searching with Anstruther RNLI and windfarm vessel

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.