Call for owners to register distress signalling devices after three-hour lifeboat search

Fraserburgh RNLI has called for owners of distress signalling devices to make sure they are registered to ensure they are located quickly when activated.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 10:18 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 2:32 pm
Fraserbugh RNLI's lifeboat Willie and May Gall was launched last week

This comes after the voluntary crew spent three hours at sea last Tuesday (April 27) when one such device was set off to the west of Fraserburgh., but were unable to find anyone in need of assistance.

The Fraserburgh lifeboat Willie and May Gall was launched following a request from the UK Coastguard at 4.07pm, with coxswain Vic Sutherland, mechanic Chay Cumming, and crew members Stephen Brown, Gubby Duncan, Lindsay Palmer, Martyn Runcie and Declan Sutherland aboard.

They took part in an intensive full scale search of the area between New Aberdour Bay and Gamrie along with the local coastguard search and rescue team and helicopter.

The intensive search was called off after three hours after the UK Coastguard were satisfied that it seemed likely that no person or vessel was in danger.

It is believed the unregistered emergency device had somehow been activated accidentally or unknowingly.

Mr Sutherland said: “‘We’re all concerned for people’s safety when the pagers go off and we are always glad when all is well and that no one is in danger.

"We were all on full alert for three hours and carried out a thorough search of the area from the sea until being stood down.

"The coastguard team carried out a thorough search of the coast line from the shore side, and the helicopter searched a large area from the air.

"Although it seems as though the emergency device was accidentally activated we would always much rather launch and search to ensure no one is in danger, than not launch at all.

'It would really help the coastguard if an EPIRB or similar distress signalling device was registered to a vessel or an individual so that contact could be made much earlier to locate the source and nature of the emergency transmission.

"We would call on all owners of such devices to make sure they are registered so that if they are ever activated they can be located quickly and would help us save lives at sea.”