Fisherman Peter Paterson has been recognised for saving seven sea anglers after mayday calls were made from his father’s sinking ship.
On August 1 of last year, mayday calls from the sinking angling vessel were initially heard by a local fisherman – who alerted Mr Paterson from Kinlochbervie because he knew the boat was owned by his father.
With the Kerry rapidly sinking, her crew only had a matter of minutes to abandon the vessel.
However, the skipper and crew were unable to inflate the life raft before the vessel sunk, and several of the anglers were unable to swim or had not donned their life jackets correctly.
Forced to cling onto their lifejackets in order to remain afloat, the task was only made harder by the hypothermic effects of the seawater.
A daring rescue
Upon hearing the mayday messages, Peter Paterson rushed to his own boat, Silver Dawn, and persuaded a friend to act as his crew.
Two of the casualties, both of whom were over 70, were clearly suffering the effects of cold-water immersion and needed to be rescued quickly.
Expertly manoeuvring his boat and with the skilled assistance of his crew member, he picked up the first two casualties before positioning to rescue the remaining five.
Once aboard, he transported all of the casualties back to Kinlochbervie Harbour, where the emergency services were waiting to provide medical support.
Award presented by Princess Anne
For his heroic actions, the young fisherman was invited to the annual meeting of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society and its Skill and Gallantry Awards in London.
Today he was presented with an individual commendation for his high-quality seamanship by the national maritime charity and its patron Princess Anne.
Chief executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Captain Justin Osmond RN, said: “The Society’s Skill and Gallantry Awards provide us with an opportunity to honour acts of skill and professionalism displayed by those at sea, by giving remarkable individuals the special recognition they deserve.
“Peter Paterson’s swift and selfless actions led to a textbook recovery of seven personnel, and given the conditions, without his skill and quick thinking, the situation may well have had a much starker conclusion.
“As such, he is fully deserving of an individual commendation for this time-critical rescue.”