A number of Dutch lifeboat volunteers visited Fraserburgh Lifeboat station recently and took in part in training exercises aboard the Fraserburgh lifeboat ‘The Willie and May Gall’.
As part of their trip to Scotland for intensive training at the Maritime Rescue Institute in Stonehaven, volunteer crew members of KNMR, the Dutch Lifeboat Service, made a visit to Fraserburgh to see the workings of a Scottish Lifeboat.
Fraserburgh Lifeboat coxswain Victor Sutherland introduced the Dutch crew to the Broch volunteers at the briefing session before the Thursday evening exercise.
The shared aim of volunteering to save lives at sea proving to be the factor which created an instant bond between the group.
The visitors met and talked and discussed procedures, techniques and methods with with the local volunteers both in the station and out on the boat.
Coxswain Sutherland decided that four of the Dutch volunteers would accompany him and Mechanic Ian Reid, Jason Flett, Stephen Brown and Stuart Ross on the first training run of the evening.
Afterwards, Dave Sutherland would take over as coxswain and take the others out on the second run with Mechanic Gipper Ainslie, Stephen Watt, John May, and Amy Allan.
Both runs proved to be very effective, the Dutch members watching and learning and then helping and taking part in the various drills.
Long, informative and very interesting discussions took place between the volunteers from the Netherlands who all spoke perfect English and their Broch counterparts on a variety of lifeboat related topics, discussing the similarities and differences between the two.
The main differences were in the conditions they faced.
Conny Van Paridon Reus the coxswain at her local lifeboat in Holland mentioned as the Broch lifeboat left the harbour into the open sea that she did not encounter conditions like these at home.
When she leaves her station she has to navigate in between ever-changing sandbanks, meaning that her charts have always got to be up-to-date.
Alex Spencer, Operations manager of the Maritime Rescue Institute Stonehaven, who organised the trip said that the Dutch volunteers always enjoy their visits to Fraserburgh as they are always assured of a warm, friendly welcome and they get a chance to see a high level of training by a dedicated and committed team.
Coxswain Sutherland, when asked if he had had to speak his best English, replied: “O michty aye, ers nae muckle need ti pit on airs n graces.”
Conny Van Paridon Reus confirmed that Victor had slowed down a little bit and “the most we understand!”