Stuart’s first man overboard scenario

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Stuart Ross, a trainee member of the local volunteer RNLI crew, experienced what it was like to be a casualty who had fallen in to the sea recently when he took part in a simulated man overboard lifeboat training exercise.

Together with experienced crew member Amy Allen, Stuart donned a drysuit, helmet and lifejacket at the RNLI station prior to the lifeboat helmed by 2nd Coxswain David Sutherland leaving the harbour as dusk was descending on a Thursday evening.

David chose a spot around a mile offshore to stop momentarily to allow Stuart and Amy to jump into the lead grey freezing cold heaving waters of the North Sea before speeding off in a circle to create a wash which would further test their mettle.

With walls of sea foam crashing over their heads from newly-formed aggressive six foot high waves lifeboat training is not for the faint hearted.

The local crew practise in hazardous conditions in the likelihood that one day they will put their own lives in danger to try and save the lives of others, more than likely others who are complete strangers.

From the bridge David exercised full control of the 27-ton, 14-metre Fraserburgh Lifeboat ‘Willie and May Gall’ switching from roaring through the waves at 25 knots to slowing almost instantly to a near stop gentle drift and softly approaching the two simulated casualties in the water.

This enabled fellow crew members Stephen Brown, Jason Flett, and Willie McDonald on deck to use the A-frame to quickly hoist Amy and Stuart aboard.

This routine was repeated several times giving everyone a chance to hone their life saving skills before returning to port and some shore based training.

The remainder of the crew to take the lifeboat out on its second run of the evening.