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Wick Lifeboat called out to paddleboard incident in Sinclair's Bay – Reaper responds to Pan Pan alert and captures dramatic images


By David G Scott

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The missing woman is spotted by the lifeboat crew. Picture: FV Reaper
The missing woman is spotted by the lifeboat crew. Picture: FV Reaper

A series of images taken by a fishing vessel capture Wick RNLI Lifeboat going into action today to locate a missing paddleboarder in Sinclair's Bay.

"Wick RNLI Lifeboat the Roy Barker II and Wick and Duncansby HM Coastguard search teams were paged today at 12.25pm to search for a missing paddleboarder that had taken to the sea at Reiss beach earlier in the morning," said a spokesperson for the Wick lifeboat.

Wick RNLI Lifeboat the Roy Barker II makes its way into Sinclair's Bay to search for the missing paddleboarder. Picture: FV Reaper
Wick RNLI Lifeboat the Roy Barker II makes its way into Sinclair's Bay to search for the missing paddleboarder. Picture: FV Reaper
Lifeboat volunteers search the bay for the missing woman. Picture: FV Reaper
Lifeboat volunteers search the bay for the missing woman. Picture: FV Reaper

The alarm was raised by a family member who had called the emergency services saying that his partner could not make her way back to the beach.

The lifeboat upon arriving at the position given started "an expanding square search". Meanwhile, it was joined by local fishing vessel called Reaper which had responded to the issued Pan Pan alert from Shetland Coastguard which was coordinating the incident.

The FV Reaper being a larger vessel had a better line of sight due to its height spotted the casualty and this position was immediately relayed to the lifeboat.

The woman is seen clinging on desperately to her paddleboard. Picture: FV Reaper
The woman is seen clinging on desperately to her paddleboard. Picture: FV Reaper
The woman had been carried far out from the beach at Reiss. Picture: FV Reaper
The woman had been carried far out from the beach at Reiss. Picture: FV Reaper
The woman was located and taken on board the lifeboat. Picture: FV Reaper
The woman was located and taken on board the lifeboat. Picture: FV Reaper

The lifeboat was then able to immediately reach the casualty where the paddleboarder was recovered onto the lifeboat, where the crew assessed the casualty’s condition, after which the lifeboat returned to Wick and the casualty was reunited with her family.

HM Coastguard station officer James Farquhar commented that when his team of seven volunteers arrived on scene at Reiss Beach the casualty "could not be seen from shore as she had been carried out of sight". However, a direction given by the family was passed to the RNLI.

Dramatic rescue of paddleboarder in Sinclair's Bay by Wick lifeboat. The woman is taken back to the shore to be reunited with her family. Picture: FV Reaper
Dramatic rescue of paddleboarder in Sinclair's Bay by Wick lifeboat. The woman is taken back to the shore to be reunited with her family. Picture: FV Reaper

A Wick lifeboat spokesperson said: "The emergency services would like to pass on our thanks to Donald Anderson skipper/co-owner, and the crew of the local vessel Reaper for their assistance during the search and to thank the crews of other vessels in Wick which were making ready to assist."

Lifeboat water safety volunteer William Munro is actively promoting the RNLI’s paddleboarding guidance on behalf of the organisation with a similar event happening in the area only a few weeks earlier.

Further information on paddling safely can be found at RNLI.org/paddling


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