When Adam, Alan and Keiran Robertson prepare to enjoy their Christmas dinner, they will have their RNLI pagers next to their plates of festive fare.
And, if the worst happens, these three generations of the one Buckie family will be ready to abandon their Yuletide plans and rush to help rescue those in peril on the sea.
Alan, 45, is the RNLI’s full-time coxswain for Buckie and his father, Adam, 69, is a deputy launch authority, meaning it’s up to him to say if and when the boat can launch.
Keiran, Alan’s 19-year-old son, is a crew member at both Buckie and Macduff Lifeboat stations, which leaves him able to respond to two different pagers based on his location at the time.
Adam has witnessed enough grief in his life to realise how quickly squalls and big waves can transform the sea and prove the catalyst for grievous emergencies and tragedies.
He said: It must be about 60 years since I managed to persuade my dad to let me come with him to the lifeboat station.
“That’s when the lifelong interest started when I was captivated by what seemed, to a nine-year-old boy, this massive blue and red hull of the lifeboat towering over me.
“As a teenager, I kept a keen interest in the lifeboat, running to the harbour whenever the maroons were sounded.
“Two very clear recollections stand out in my mind, clear even today, the first being when the local fishing boat ‘Briar Rose’ grounded on the West Mucks some half-a-mile from the Buckie harbour entrance in 1967.
“I watched intently as coxswain George Jappy and his crew picked the men from the fishing boat using only the lifeboat’s searchlight to illuminate the scene.
“The other was when our lifeboat returned with the bodies of the Fraserburgh lifeboat crew in 1970.
“I did not watch events and came away from the harbour as it was such a pitiful and heart-rending sight. Many women on the quayside were crying.
“When our son, Alan, was 17 he asked to join the lifeboat crew. Because it was younger then the official age for joining the crew, he needed his parents’ consent.
“Needless to say, this was granted.
“By now we had moved to the days of fast, self-righting lifeboats and seeing Alan in his yellow gear as a crew member filled me with much pride.
“At this time, I was an avid supporter, organising the popular lifeboat gala days and helping out at the station where possible.”
Adam added: “I have held the position of depute launching authority for many years and, together with our operations manager, hold responsibility for ensuring all is well at our station and that our modern lifeboat ‘William Blannin’ can go to sea at a moment’s notice.
“Alan has served as a crew member for 28 years, rising through the ranks to his present role as the station’s full-time joint coxswain and mechanic.”
The lifeboat commitment has gone full circle as Keiran is now a crew member of both Buckie and, as his work is based in Banff, Macduff lifeboats.
Alan’s wife Caroline is also involved in fundraising, as is his daughter Lily-Mae who helps her mum with fundraising, and is keen to join the crew when she is old enough.
Speaking about the Robertsons’ commitment to the RNLI, area lifesaving manager, Henry Weaver, said: “There is something really special about seeing three generations of one family involved with the lifeboat.
“The RNLI and Buckie lifeboat are woven into the Robertson family and I think Keiran even saw in his 18th birthday on board.
“We’re really grateful to the family for all the time they give us and, for being ready to drop everything when the pagers go.
“This is an especially big ask around Christmas time and we can’t thank all of our volunteers enough.”
Adam concluded: “I have been blessed with a lifetime interest, culminating in much pride as I watch my son and grandson take to the sea to help others.”