Just 72 hours after qualifying as a coxswain, Davie Grant led his crew to rescue a motor yacht near Lossiemouth.
With mayday messages coming in at around 9.15 pm on Saturday, the newly qualified coxswain took command for the first time.
A volunteer crew manning Buckie’s Severn-class lifeboat ‘William Blannin’ sped to the motor yacht which had suffered total engine and electrical failure.
Assessing that the 32ft yacht was disabled and being driven ashore by a strengthening nor-nor-westerly wind, the team felt the only safe course of action was to tow the vessel to port.
And, while Lossiemouth is closer, it posed several hazards including the harbour entrance and strong wind and tide conditions.
For these reasons, an executive decision was made to drag the vessel to Buckie, travelling at around four knots it took around three hours to pull it into Buckie Harbour.
‘Baptism of fire’
Mr Grant said: “It was something of a baptism of fire
“This was the first time I had ever towed a vessel into Buckie harbour; to have to do it at night, and with a nor-nor-westerly wind blowing into the harbour entrance, was a real challenge.
“The crew, however, responded fantastically; we shortened the tow line to give us maximum control over the casualty vessel and, in the end, the crew made it look straightforward despite any first night nerves on my part.”
Having served with the Buckie Lifeboat crew for 27 years, Mr Grant took over as the station’s full-time coxswain and mechanic after passing his exams and his predecessor was promoted to a full-time staff coxswain role with the RNLI nationally.
He added: “Training for the coxswain role was made much more challenging by the restrictions brought about by Covid-19.
“It’s an honour now to be the fully-fledged coxswain/mechanic at Buckie Lifeboat Station, with its wonderful crew and fantastic lifesaving tradition of service to the community here in Moray.”
Buckie Lifeboat operations manager, Anne Scott added: “It’s a measure of the strength-in-depth at Buckie Lifeboat that the station has, in the last year, been able to see two of its coxswains – Alan Robertson and second coxswain Mike Rennie – promoted to roles in the RNLI elsewhere – and yet still provide for succession by accelerating Davie’s training from within our own team.
“This illustrates not only the strength of the Buckie Lifeboat crew, but also the support and commitment of the community to supporting its lifeboat. The station has 24 volunteer crew-members, every one of them dependent on the support and understanding of their families and of their employers locally.”