Locals of Peterhead unite in support of Peterhead RNLI after rescuing a fishing vessel seconds from disaster with five crew onboard. Photo: Peterhead RNLI
Peterhead Lifeboat launched on Friday 05 February to rescue a 160 tonne fishing vessel, which was seconds away from crashing into the rocks at Peterhead Breakwater, saving the five lives on board.
The alarm was raised at 4.30pm when a fishing vessel was towing another fishing vessel into Peterhead Harbour and the tow broke numerous times due to the stormy weather conditions. The volunteer crew rushed to the Station, launched Peterhead’s Tamar-class lifeboat The Misses Robertson of Kintail and were on scene within minutes.
Establishing a tow at the first attempt despite the vessel being dangerously close to the rocks at Peterhead South Breakwater, an easterly gale and a significant swell, the crew brought the fishing vessel back to safety.
Since the dramatic rescue in extremely challenging conditions, the support the local community have shown Peterhead Lifeboat Station has been overwhelming with social media posts raising more than £3,000. Even Jax Chip Shop in Ellon has been in touch to offer the crew involved in the rescue and their families free fish suppers!
It was Patrick Davidson’s first shout as Coxswain. The longest serving volunteer of Peterhead Lifeboat, having joined over 23 years ago, said: “We are just really pleased we got there on time and brought them all back in safely, it’s not just people’s lives, it’s their livelihood as well.
“The whole crew are humbled, it’s not until you sit back and think about it and think ‘wow that was close’. It’s fantastic to see the positive support that we are getting, it makes you think people do appreciate what we do.
“It’s just phenomenal the amount of donations that have come through and we can’t thank everybody enough, it gives us a bit of pride. It just gives us that feeling that we have done something good for the community and potentially saved lives. It doesn’t get any better than that.
“The crew and the skipper of the boat could not thank the lifeboat enough and said they’d be forever grateful which makes all the effort worthwhile.”
Jurgen Wahle, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Peterhead RNLI, said: “The amount of support we have received and what the crew have achieved through bravery, dedication and teamwork is absolutely extraordinary.
“This was a critical incident and the effort from everyone on shore and at sea has resulted in five lives being saved. It is a tremendous outcome, and I’d like to commend the bravery displayed by the crew, as well as the other vessels involved.
“We are still a charity, so we do rely on donations and to see such a huge amount raised through our social media posts has been really fantastic to see. It shows how much our local community club together and it is so appreciated.”
Peterhead Lifeboat Station is staffed by one full-time RNLI employee and the rest of the crew, operational team and fundraisers are all volunteers who give up their free time to commit to saving lives at sea.
They remain on call 365 days of the year, even in the current lockdown, to man the coasts and waters. This has meant adapting quickly to align with Government guidelines while ensuring they are still ready to respond when the pager sounds. As a charity, separate from the coastguard and independent from government, the RNLI is reliant on voluntary donations to power its lifesaving work.