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North Berwick RNLI respond to reports of a large, upturned boat near Bass Rock

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteer crew members from North Berwick RNLI launched on Sunday (1.40pm, 3 September) to investigate reports of a capsized vessel with a person in the water. On scene they discovered the ‘vessel’ was a 6m deceased whale which had snagged on a creel end.

Crew members look upon deceased, floating whale in the distance.

RNLI/North Berwick

North Berwick RNLI investigate object thought to be upturned vessel, which turned out to be a deceased whale
The deceased whale is believed to be a Minke whale and had reportedly been drifting in the Firth of Forth for few days before it became snagged on a creel end. Now visible from shore, the creel marker buoys looked like people in the water and the whale looked like a capsized vessel.

North Berwick’s volunteer lifeboat crew attended the scene and were able to confirm that there were no people or vessels in distress. They passed descriptive details to HM Coastguard along with the whale’s current position as it is a potential hazard to shipping, before being stood down and returning to station.

John McCarter, helm of North Berwick lifeboat said: ‘It’s obviously a shame to see such a magnificent creature like this dead, something which we’ve already seen twice this year in North Berwick.’

‘The hope is that the whale will drift free and back out to sea where the natural process can take place, returning the whales nutrients to the ocean environment.’

In any coastal emergency dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

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.

RNLI media contacts

Rhona Meikle, Lifeboat Press Officer, North Berwick, [email protected], 07767251023

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]

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.