A harbour watchman has been hailed for saving a man who drunkenly decided to go for a swim.
The drama unfolded in the early hours of yesterday, just a year after Aberdeenshire Council abandoned cost-cutting plans to axe the night watchman role at Macduff Harbour.
It is believed the intoxicated man decided to go for a dip at about 1am, but got into difficulty.
The watchman spotted him in the water and threw a liftbelt to him while raising the alarm.
The man was brought safely back to shore, but refused hospital treatment.
Last year, the local authority revealed it wanted to scrap the nightwatch service to cut costs.
But the local community was furious, with the local fishing industry concerned it would leave vessels unprotected in the evenings.
Last night, those same politicians said the watchman’s actions “vindicated” the decision to keep the staff at the harbour.
Councillor Ross Cassie said: “This totally vindicates the decision 12 months ago to keep the night watch staff.
“Without this there could have been a much more tragic outcome from this situation.”
Councillor Mark Findlater added: “Our thanks go to the night watchman whose quick response greatly helped the man who was in the harbour, and proves the service in Macduff Harbour is vital.”
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid thanked the RNLI, and added: “Credit must also go to the harbour night watchman, who helped the man after he got into difficulty.
“This illustrates the importance of having someone on hand at the quayside.
“It was only last year that the post was close to being scrapped.
“Given the increasing activity at Macduff harbour more generally, the role of the night watchman is vital.”
Mike Rawlins, from RNLI Macduff, said: “We were paged to launch by the coastguard at 1.16am to attend Macduff Harbour where a person was reported as being in the water.
“We launched six minutes later and located the adult male who was making use of a life ring which had been deployed by the Aberdeenshire Council night watchman.
“We got the casualty onboard our lifeboat and transported him the short distance to the fish market steps where he was assisted ashore by our crew members and passed into the care of the ambulance crew.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed they had attended the incident, along with ambulance and coastguard.
A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “We are pleased our team could assist in the rescue at Macduff Harbour.”