Fundraising volunteers have pushed the boat out to help the RNLI which is expecting to see its income drop by £30 million by the end of the year.
The Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with the lifesaving charity’s fundraising efforts this year, including popular open days, and it could take another 18 months to realise the full impact.
But innovative supporters moved events online to ensure money kept coming in to help the RNLI stay afloat.
The RNLI saw all 174 shops across the country shut at the height of lockdown and regular fundraising could not take place, while a fall in the stock and property markets also hit income.
Steven Peacock, RNLI chief finance officer, said: “In this changing and challenging environment, it is very hard to predict with absolute certainty what impact the coronavirus will have on our financial situation.
“Added to this, new restrictions mean that we don’t know when or where further impact might happen in the next few weeks and months.
“Our current projections, based on forecasting activity in October, indicate a decline in our income of around £30 million by the end of the year, compared to our 2020 plan.”
He said as well as using government wage subsidy schemes to help mitigate the loss, the charity has significantly reduced expenditure, with some work put on hold.
Fourteen of the 24 new lifeboats due to be built in 2020 have been shelved until 2021, and 37 of the 67 refits due in 2020 have also been paused until next year, although none of the delays affects teams in the north or north-east.
Mr Peacock added: “Our lifeboat and station building and maintenance work – along with training and other projects – has only been delayed, not abandoned, and still needs to be completed.
“So, while the RNLI has managed the financial impact of coronavirus in the short term, the pressure on our finances is likely to increase as vital work resumes but our income remains at risk.
“The true financial impact on the charity may not be known for another 12-18 months.”
RNLI Fraserburgh coxswain Vic Sutherland said the support of fundraisers had been hugely important.
“We feel very fortunate to have so far weathered this coronavirus storm and we can’t thank our local supporters enough.
“We are definitely in a fortunate position at the moment but we hope our supporters will continue to show their generosity and support as we head into what will be a very different festive season.
“The volunteer crew and I will still be on call, 24/7 as usual, and we can’t do that without our fundraisers and supporters.”
During the year, Aberdeen and Peterhead volunteer fundraisers hosted virtual tours and open days.
More than 21,000 people logged into the Aberdeen event and raised over £1,800.
Peterhead raised more than £1,800 with events including moving their ‘buttery morning’ online.
And Tobermory lifeboat crew and station volunteers walked, ran, swam, rowed and cycled 2,184 miles in two weeks to raise more than £3,500.
Earlier this month, a £2.1 million new lifeboat arrived at Invergordon.
The Launch a Memory fundraising initiative enabled supporters to have the names of more than 9,500 loved ones printed on the hull.