Missing kayakers prompt sea search – and fresh calls to ‘stay home and stay ashore’

Concerns for two kayakers who were reported missing led to the Aith lifeboat and coastguard teams being called into action on Sunday – and prompted fresh calls for people to stick to government advice about exercise during the Covid-19 lockdown.

A brief search and rescue operation was needed after the pair were late returning to the shore following a paddle around Maywick and Bigton in the South Mainland.

The RNLI Charles Lidbury was called out from the Aith Lifeboat Station to assist coastguard crews, in case a full-scale search was required. The overdue kayakers were found safe and well before the lifeboat arrived on the scene and the volunteer crew were stood down after about an hour at sea.

Coastguard teams were able to confirm the kayakers were safe after spotting them ashore on the uninhabited isle of South Havra.

Aith Lifeboat coxswain John Robertson said the operation meant that lifeboat volunteers had been put at risk of catching the virus during the operation.

He said: “RNLI volunteers are always on hand to respond to emergencies at sea, but these emergencies can be avoided just now by following government guidelines. Whilst one spell of outdoor exercise is allowed every day, the RNLI is advising folk not to exercise on or in the sea.

“Every time a lifeboat crew is called out during the Covid-19 crisis, it potentially exposes our volunteers – and others – to the risk of catching and spreading the virus.”

Meanwhile, head of water safety at the RNLI, Gareth Morrison, said the RNLI was potentially facing its “biggest storm” because the pandemic meant the organisation was unable to organise fundraising events or open its shops.


Add Your Comment
  • John M Scott

    • April 20th, 2020 10:41

    Whilst I understand the temptation to take advantage of the beautiful coastline around Shetland; I find the crass stupidity of those involved beyond belief during the current lockdown. The RNLI are often the forgotten heroes , especially to those of us who live near the sea.

    Hopefully the kayakers will search their consciences and make a donation to the work of the brave crew of the Aith RNLI.

  • Robert Wishart

    • April 24th, 2020 15:53

    No evidence the pair were missing or in any kind of bother other than of the “hello, hello, hello … what’s going on here then?” variety. Waste of coastguard and RNLI time and resources. Whoever “reported” them should “search their consciences and make a donation” … etc.

    • John M Scott

      • April 26th, 2020 6:31

      If you read the article carefully it clearly states that they were “reported missing” ; obviously by a family member or friend.

      So whoever “reported” them missing was genuinely concerned for their safety. It was therefore an irresponsible act committed by them during these testing times.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.