A hero Angus lifeboatman whose part in the rescue of two Tay jetskiers inspired them to join the RNLI has been honoured for his service to the charity.
Neil Swankie has been a member of Arbroath RNLI crew since 2003, and a coxswain at the town station since 2005.
He has now been presented with the charity’s 20-year long service medal.
In his time on the crew, Neil has attended almost 220 call outs.
He’s directly helped save the lives of eight people and helped more than 120 folk in distress in the waters off Arbroath and around its coast.
His record of 295 service hours includes more than 450 training exercises and nearly 1,200 hours at sea.
River Tay drama
Neil’s first ‘shout’ was back in September 2003.
Just two years later, he was passed out as an all-weather lifeboat coxswain.
And Neil’s most memorable rescue led to two new recruits for the lifesaving charity.
In November 2012, two jet skiers were missing in the icy waters of the River Tay estuary after their machine broke down.
For almost four hours, Ben Thomson and Gavin Smith clung to each other, singing a children’s song top stave off hypothermia in a desperate bid to stay afloat.
There were the subject of a full-scale search involving Arbroath and Broughty Ferry lifeboats and a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter.
And with daylight and hope fading fast, the pair were spotted by Neil and his fellow crew on Arbroath’s all-weather lifeboat.
The grateful pair went on to sign up as RNLI volunteers.
They also featured in a safety awareness campaign for the charity.
Neil said he wanted to thank everyone at Arbroath station for their support he has received over the two decades.
The honour comes as Arbroath RNLI embarks on a bid to boost volunteer numbers.
It plans to stage a crew recruitment day at the 220-year-old station later this month.
The move comes after a number of long-serving figures left following the decision to remove Arbroath’s all-weather capability under a controversial coastal review.