North Berwick RNLI launch into near gale force winds and fading light
Volunteer RNLI crew members from North Berwick and Kinghorn contended with very rough conditions and falling darkness during the search for a stand up paddleboarder off Musselburgh on Sunday 19 February 2022.
The alarm was raised at 5.17pm by a member of the public who had spotted a paddleboarder struggling in near gale force westerly winds as the light faded. RNLI volunteers from North Berwick were alerted and started to make to the area in their D class lifeboat, Evelyn M, however due to the adverse conditions and fading light, Kinghorn’s B class lifeboat, Tommy Niven, was also tasked to the incident.
John McCarter, Helm of North Berwick lifeboat said: ‘Conditions were very rough with waves repeatedly breaking over the lifeboat making progress to the area slow. Thankfully in situations like this we are able to work alongside our neighbouring stations to support us.’
‘This call out demonstrates the commitment of our volunteers crew and also the capabilities of our wee lifeboat, the design may have not changed much in 50 years but it is a very capable craft keeping our crew and casualties safe, whatever the conditions.’
Coastguard Rescue Teams from Fisherrow and North Berwick used CCTV to identify that a paddleboarder matching the casualties description had been sighted ashore and the search was stood down at 6.20pm.
North Berwick lifeboat covered in excess of 22 nautical miles and was at sea for over 2 hours in tough conditions, with the volunteer crew heading home to a well earned dinner with their families once they returned to station.
Voluntary Water Safety Officer for North Berwick, Duncan Barbour said: ‘If you’re heading out on the water to paddleboard, always check the forecast, it can be very hard to paddle back to shore in an offshore or strengthening wind.’
‘Always wear a buoyancy aid, a board leash and have a waterproofed means of calling for help on your person. Wearing a wetsuit, or a drysuit in winter, is highly advised as the water is less than half the temperature than it is in summer and can cause cold water shock all year round. In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard’
Notes to editors
· North Berwick lifeboat station has been operating since 1860. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/north-berwick-lifeboat-station
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