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North Berwick RNLI launch twice into the sea haar

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers from North Berwick RNLI launched the charity’s relief D-class lifeboat Robleen on Friday (17 May) evening and Saturday (18 May) afternoon as the haar (sea fog) enveloped the coastline.

The first page came at 9.45pm on Friday 17 May after members of the public spotted an object in the water off Gullane bay, three nautical miles to the west of the station. North Berwick Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) arrived on scene as the lifeboat was making way to Gullane, but due to the rapidly fading light and incoming haar were unable to determine what the object was.

The lifeboat made good speed to the scene and were guided onto the object by members of North Berwick CRT. The object turned out to be a marker buoy attached to a creel.

Helm, Hamish Barbour said “The first informant did exactly the right thing by calling the Coastguard, the visibility on scene wasn’t great and fishing buoys can very easily look like a persons head bobbing in the water. If in doubt, call 999 for the Coastguard.”

The second call out came at 1.56pm on Saturday 18 May after members of the public reported concerns for a group of stand up paddleboarders who had been seen by Craigleith Island, approximately one nautical mile offshore, when the haar once again blanketed the area.

With visibility dropping below 100m at times the lifeboat launched and started a systematic search of the area between Craigleith Island and the shore before starting a shoreline search as new information became available.

After two hours with nothing found the lifeboat was stood down as investigations on shore had identified the paddleboarders involved and established that they had made it safely ashore.

Helm Callum MacLeod said: “This was a search based on minimal information in tricky conditions. Thankfully the paddleboarders were safe and well. We thank the members of the public and other water users for the information they provided.”

“At this time of year the Firth of Forth is prone to sea fog, or haar as it is called on the east coast of Scotland, when relatively warm winds blow over the cold sea. If you’re headed out on the water always check the weather forecast, wear an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket and carry a waterproofed means of calling for help”.

Notes to editors
  • In 2023 RNLI lifeboats from 238 stations across the UK and RoI launched 9,192 times saving 355 lives, RNLI Lifeguards saved a further 151 lives, North Berwick launched 21 times.
  • 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

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]

RNLI/North Berwick

North Berwick RNLI conduct search for paddleboarders in haar

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.