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Surfers Urged To Stay Ashore Amid Pandemic & Avoid Risk To Lifesaving Crews

15th April 2020
Bill Deans MBE, lifeboat operations manager at Aberdeen RNLI Bill Deans MBE, lifeboat operations manager at Aberdeen RNLI Photo: RNLI/Derek Ironside

Aberdeen RNLI has urged surfers to stay ashore during the Covid-19 pandemic to “protect emergency services and save lives”.

The call came after the volunteer crew of the station in north-east Scotland were forced to break self-isolation and launch their inshore lifeboat yesterday (Tuesday 14 April) following reports of a surfer in difficulty at a local beach.

The crew of three mustered quickly and launched the D-class lifeboat Buoy Woody 85N shortly after 3.30pm and reached the scene around 15 minutes later.

The surfer had been reportedly having difficulty getting back on his board and swimming ashore.

However, by the time the lifeboat arrived, the surfer was on his board and in no immediate danger. After speaking with the lifeboat crew, the surfer made his own way ashore.

Bill Deans MBE, operations manager at Aberdeen lifeboat station, said he was disappointed his crew had to expose themselves to risk in this way.

“Like most people, our volunteer lifeboat crew members are self-isolating at home in line with [UK] Government guidelines – mostly doing their day jobs remotely.

“But they are always willing to set aside their own concerns to respond if the call comes that someone is in danger at sea.

“There is no way a lifeboat crew of three can maintain two-metre separation aboard a five-metre long lifeboat – and if they had required to pull someone from the water, the infection concerns are obvious to all.”

Deans added: “I have every sympathy with people who would like to use their daily exercise period to swim, sail, surf or whatever — but on behalf of every lifeboat crew member in the UK and Ireland, I have to appeal to them not to put our crews at indirect risk by going into or onto the sea.

“Stay safe ashore, protect the emergency services and save lives.”

MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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