Three people were dramatically rescued from a vessel this weekend moments before it ran aground in choppy seas near Burghead.
An emergency was declared shortly before 8pm on Saturday when the 30ft boat was spotted struggling in the water a short distance from shore.
Multiple rescue units were scrambled to offer assistance in what were increasingly stormy conditions.
The vessel was marked as being owned by the Sea Scouts and is understood to have been in use by a group from Inverness.
Those on board the motor cruiser contacted rescue services by VHF Radio before abandoning ship. Last night rescuers said they had been “extremely lucky”.
All three of the occupants were safely brought to dry land and are not believed to have suffered any serious injuries as a result of their ordeal.
But their vessel was dashed repeatedly against rocks off the coast after teams decided it was too dangerous to undertake a recovery.
As the tide went out, it was stranded on rocks.
Adele Wright, a skipper for the local North 58 Sea Adventures maritime tour company, watched the drama unfold from her kitchen, which overlooks the sea at Burghead.
She said: “I was sitting having my tea and my partner Deb was cooking, and we saw the boat come past the window.
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“I thought that it was really stormy weather, and we noticed the boat stopped and started moving side-on.
“I used my scope and saw the guy using his VHF radio, and called my boss who runs MIRO and he said they were on the way.
“I watched them deploy their life raft, and by this point the boat had just gone right towards the rocks.
“It’s incredible everyone managed to get off with just cuts and bruises.”
She added: “What an absolutely awesome job the rescue teams do in all conditions.”
Burghead coastguard rescue team, the Moray Independent Rescue Organisation (MIRO), the Buckie RNLI lifeboat, the ambulance service and the offshore industry rescue Bond helicopter from Aberdeen were all involved in the rescue.
Jonathan Mustard from HM Coastguard said: “Those on board the vessel were extremely lucky.
“Fortunately they were all wearing life jackets and had suitable life-saving equipment and the means of raising the alarm.
“They were able to abandon their vessel for a life raft.
“Coastguard rescue officers entered the water in rough conditions and were able to bring everyone safely to shore.”
Yesterday afternoon, the vessel remained stuck on the rocks at Burghead. Teams could be spotted recovering equipment from the boat.
The Sea Scouts were approached for comment last night.