A lifeboat crew were forced to “break” social distancing measures after a surfer was spotted struggling at sea.
Aberdeen’s inshore lifeboat team launched a rescue mission after hearing reports of a man struggling to make it ashore on his surfboard at about 3.30pm today.
Fortunately by the time the rescue boat arrived, the surfer was on his board and in no immediate danger.
Bill Deans MBE, operations manager at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station, said he was disappointed his crew had to expose themselves to risk in this way.
“Like most people, our volunteer lifeboat crew members are self-isolating at home in line with government guidelines – mostly doing their day-jobs remotely. But they are always willing to set aside their own concerns to respond if the call comes that someone is in danger at sea,” he said.
“There is no way a lifeboat crew of three can maintain 2m separation aboard a 5 metre long lifeboat – and if they had required to pull someone from the water, the infection concerns are obvious to all.”
He said while he understands the importance of daily exercise, he urges the public to not swim in the sea given the risk it can pose to crew members.
He added: “I have every sympathy with people who would like to use their daily exercise period to swim, sail, surf or whatever – but on behalf of every lifeboat crewmember in the UK and Ireland, I have to appeal to them not to put our crews at indirect risk by going into or onto the sea.
“Stay safe ashore, protect the emergency services and save lives.”
An RNLI spokesman said any member of the public who is concerned for someone’s safety must not hesitate to call the Coastguard.
The only action which could have prevented the crew from being called out would today have been if this surfer had stayed at home.