The dedicated crew of the Fraserburgh RNLI Lifeboat crew are experiencing their busiest year on record – despite having a quarter of 2019 still to go.
They were paged to offer life-saving assistance for the 34th time on Friday after reports of a fishing vessel in difficulties off Peterhead.
Their intervention, as the Northern Eagle struggled without power, was captured on film by a crew member with a GoPro camera and was then viewed more than 40,000 times in one day.
That matches last year’s total with almost four months still to go. The 34 shouts during 2018 was a record for the Broch Crew.
Coxswain Vic Sutherland said: “Last year was our busiest yet, with 34 calls, but we’ve hit that with three months to go.
“You just don’t know what will happen in that time but the fact we’ve been so busy has motivated the crew.
“It has helped with the training of last year’s recruits, giving them the experience of real call-outs alongside their training.”
The latest shout came at 1.47pm on Friday when the lifeboat crew were tasked to help the stricken Northern Eagle, about a mile south of Boddam Power Station.
Conditions at sea were rough but when they reached Rattray Head it escalated with a swell of 1.5 metres quickly increasing to a swell of 3.5 metres.
Mr Sutherland skippered the lifeboat to the scene with mechanic Jason Flett and volunteer crew members Andrew Lockhart, John May, Lindsay Palmer and Martyn Runcie aboard.
They manoeuvred the lifeboat close enough that a tow line could be thrown aboard, while remaining far enough apart that there was no danger of the two vessels colliding in the heaving seas.
In the video of the incident, Mr Sutherland is heard over the tannoy instructing his crew and saying: “We’ll back astern till we are close beside her and when you get your chance, go for it, John.”
A spokesman for the RNLI said: “Imagine towing a double-decker bus with a Mini, which would be hard enough on a straight and level road.
“This was similar but at sea in high winds, high waves and amidst strong currents.”
RNLI Volunteer John May, with 45 years of experience, successfully threw the heavy line on the first try and the tow was established before the vessel was led back to Peterhead and escorted by pilot vessels to the harbour.
Footage of the mission was released on social media and has proved popular.
Mr Sutherland said: “We are using the cameras more and more and will hopefully release further footage in the future to show people what we really deal with.”