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Latest shout for Aberdeen RNLI marks first for new crew member

Lifeboats News Release

Aberdeen RNLI volunteer crew was called out on Tuesday 21st of February following reports of a wind foil surfer that was lost from sight – the shout marked the first for new crew member, Stewart Riley.

Bon Accord - Aberdeen RNLI

RNLI/RNLI Aberdeen lifeboat station

Bon Accord - Aberdeen RNLI

Both lifeboats – all weather lifeboat, Bon Accord, and inshore lifeboat, Buoy Woody 85N – were paged at 18:33 on Tuesday. The boats launched and crew conducting a detailed search of the north and south sides of the north breakwater, as well as the southern area of the beachfront. The casualty was reported to be safe onshore and both boats were stood down and ready for service by 19:30.

The fairly routine shout was a standout for the local Aberdeen crew, as it marked the first official shout for new crew member Stewart Riley.

Stewart, who currently works in an onshore role at Harbour Energy, joined the crew in late 2022 and has been undergoing intensive training in his spare time. Now, only a few months after joining, and undergoing several training exercises with the crew, Stewart had the opportunity to take part in an active launch and search operation.

Stewart said: “So few people realise that the local lifeboats are operated by volunteers – and there’s a lot that goes into getting you sea ready. The RNLI invests a lot of time and money to ensure that these crews are trained and ready to respond to incidents in the local area. I had been keen to volunteer my time to something and having a background working offshore the RNLI felt like the right fit for me.

“I’ve been training with the crew in the evenings and weekends, as well as undergoing training at the RNLI College in Poole, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend an active and real shout yet. This experience confirmed to me exactly why I wanted to do this in the first place – and thankfully, it was a positive outcome.”

Stewart is not the only new crew member in Aberdeen, with others currently undergoing training and eagerly awaiting their chance to support.

Cal Reed, Aberdeen RNLI Coxswain Mechanic, commented: “The RNLI and the service it provides in keeping people safe by the sea can only exist if we have volunteers to react to the pager, get on the boat and head to sea. 24/7, 365 days a day, it doesn’t matter, they’re up and out, and Stewart is going to be a fantastic and important member of our crew to ensure that we can continue to do that in the Aberdeen area.

“All of us at RNLI Aberdeen lifeboat station, from our volunteer crew, operations teams and fundraisers are very proud of Stewart and the role he played on Tuesday, but also the commitment he has shown to date in his training.”

Aberdeen RNLI lifeboat stations, like the 200+ stations around the United Kingdom and Ireland, cannot operate without fundraisers and donations from the public. The station has recently announced fundraising volunteer positions including events organisers, fundraising branch secretary and branch members.

Stewart Riley - trainee crew at Aberdeen RNLI lifeboat station

RNLI/Stephen Brown

Stewart Riley - trainee crew at Aberdeen RNLI lifeboat station

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.