Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford visited Fraserburgh Lifeboat Station recently ahead of the launch of the RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign.
‘Respect the Water’ (RTW) is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign.
Around 190 people die each year around the UK and Irish coasts - and we want to change this. The RNLI has a goal to halve the number of coastal drownings by 2024 and “Respect the Water” is playing a key role in this.
Dr Whiteford who was accompanied by Gemma Fowlie and parliamentary assistant Kenneth Hutchison, met Coxswain Vic Sutherland, 2nd Coxswain Dave Sutherland, Navigator William McDonald, Mechanic Kenneth Ritchie, Volunteer Stephen john Duthie, Treasurer Stuart Fenty and LPO Billy Watson.
Vic showed Eilidh around the station bringing her up to date with recent developments and events since her last visit in September 2013.
He highlighted the RNLI’s growing emphasis on raising awareness and prevention, encapsulated in the ‘Respect the Water Campaign’.
One significant change to personal equipment has been the introduction of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) for the crew.
The PLBs provide the crew member with an additional level of protection when afloat, and is stowed in a lifejacket flare pocket.
When activated – if the crewmember falls overboard and into water - the PLB produces a signal which is detected by satellite and alerts a Coastguard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. The beacons also emit a 121.5MHz signal which is used for quickly locating the person in distress.
“The PLB’s have greatly enhanced the personal safety of the crew who put their lives at risk to safe others” said Vic
“We also showed Eilidh a number of resources and items which the RNLI have produced to support the “Respect the Water” campaign and which will be distributed in the next few weeks.”
Before going on a trip out to sea Dr Whiteford took a few moments beside the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Memorial Statue. A tribute to the 13 local crew men who have lost their lives in three separate lifeboat disasters.