Lifeboat volunteers had to “risk infection” when a surfer got into difficulty after taking to the waves at Aberdeen beach yesterday.
The inshore crew had to break self-isolation guidelines as they raced into action at 3.30pm today after receiving a call from the Coastguard service.
The three-strong unit arrived at the scene after the surfer had been reported to be experiencing difficulty getting back on their board in the stormy sea.
However, by the time the lifeboat arrived, they were on their board and in no immediate danger.
After speaking with the crew, the surfer made his own way ashore.
RNLI have since
said the drama could have been avoided if the surfer had chosen to exercise in a safer manner.
Bill Deans, operations manager at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station, said: “Like most people, our volunteer lifeboat crew members are self-isolating at home in line with 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 2m separation aboard a 5 metre long lifeboat – and if they had required to pull someone from the water, the infection concerns are obvious to all.”
He 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 crewmember 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.”