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Fraserburgh RNLI launch after Emergency Signal received

Lifeboats News Release

Fraserburgh RNLI lifeboat was launched by the Coastguard at 5.42pm on Sunday 25 June 2023 after they received an emergency signal from an EPIRB which had been activated.

RNLI/Billy Watson

Fraserburgh RNLI volunteers responded quickly to their pagers.

The signal was traced to a vessel which had been tied up in Fraserburgh Harbour for several months and after a thorough search by the Coastguard and RNLI lifeboat crew, the EPIRB device, which had stopped transmitting by this time, was located aboard the vessel.

No person was found aboard the boat and the Coastguard eventually made contact with the owner and a representative arrived soon after.

It was quickly established that no person or vessel was in grave or immediate danger. The Fraserburgh RNLI lifeboat was stood down at 6:27pm and returned to its berth where it was washed down and refuelled to be made ready for next service.

An EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) is a device that transmits a signal saying that a person or a vessel is in grave or immediate danger when activated. They activate when they are exposed to water or a large shock and an EPIRB signal tells rescue groups where a person or vessel is approximately located.

Each EPIRB is programmed with a unique identifying code which is transmitted by the beacon when activated, and provides the coastguard with immediate access to the owner’s details when the beacon’s signal is detected. This means they will know who the owner is and who their emergency contacts are.

In situations of accidental activation, the Coastguard can also immediately eliminate the beacon as an emergency situation by contacting the owner when activation is detected.The signal from an EPIRB is regarded by the Coastguard as an indication of distress and is given an appropriate response and in this case they tasked the lifeboat and mobilised their own rescue officers.

Fraserburgh Lifeboat full-time Coxswain/ Mechanic Vic Sutherland has asked boat owners and skippers to act responsibly with regard to maintaining EPIRBs and ensuring their proper storage and use so that they are not accidentally or unintentionally activated.

He says: 'It is the responsibility of every owner of an EPIRB to ensure that it is not activated unintentionally or in situations that do not justify its use.

'Most cases of accidental transmission result from poor or inappropriate storage, negligence, or failure to totally disable an old model beacon before disposal. The need to treat emergency beacons responsibly cannot be too highly emphasised. Rescue teams can be putting themselves at risk needlessly.'


Notes to editors

· Fraserburgh lifeboat station has been operating since 1858. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/fraserburgh-lifeboat-station


RNLI media contacts

Billy Watson, Lifeboat Press Officer, [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]

Jaye Mackay, RNLI Media Engagement Placement for Scotland, 07929 673286, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

RNLI/Billy Watson

Fraserburgh full time Coxswain/ Mechanic Vic Sutherland praised his crew's immediate response meaning they were able to launch quickly.

RNLI/Billy Watson

The coastguard rescue team also arrived promptly.

RNLI/Billy Watson

The signal was traced to a vessel which had been tied up in Fraserburgh Harbour.

RNLI/Billy Watson

Fraserburgh Lifeboat quickly located the vessel in Fraserburgh Harbour

RNLI/Billy Watson

After a thorough search by coastguards and lifeboat crew the EPIRB device which had stopped transmitting by this time was located aboard the 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.

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