A Tayside lifeboat mechanic has come in for a ribbing from his own crew after the rescuer became the rescued at the weekend.
Full-time Arbroath mechanic Sam Clow was enjoying leisure time off the Angus coast in a friend’s boat on Saturday afternoon when the engine of the 40-foot vessel spluttered to a halt as they were heading back to harbour.
With children on board, 26-year-old Sam chose not to attempt the tricky manoeuvre of bringing the yacht into the harbour under sail and opted to take the safety first approach of a call to the Coastguard.
It led to both Arbroath lifeboats being launched just after 3pm – and a few surprised faces when the local volunteer crews discovered whose aid they had come to.
A tow rope to the all-weather lifeboat Inchcape was set up and the yacht party were brought safely home.
“It was a surprise to them when they saw it was me, and a few cheeky smiles,” said Sam, who said the rescue was an illustration of how quickly trouble can strike.
“I’ve had a fair few Whatsapp messages but you’d rather come out of it safely and have a bit of mickey-taking than anything go wrong,” added Sam, who is a helmsman on the Arbroath inshore lifeboat and close to completing his coxswain’s qualification for the all-weather craft.
“We had put the sail back up to have some control, but the direction of the wind and the narrow entrance to the harbour would have made it tricky to get back in and with children on board we didn’t want to take any chances.
“It wasn’t my boat and I immediately knew that what we had to do was make the sensible call.
“We always tell people not to hesitate if they get into a difficult situation and not to think for a moment that they will be wasting people’s time.”
Arbroath lifeboat operations manager Alex Smith said: “They weren’t far out, but it was the correct right thing to do in the situation they found themselves in.
“It was easy for the boats to get the tow on and it was a safe return, but even if they had managed to re-start the engine we always say it is easier for us to be out there to just cover someone in trouble rather than them getting into more difficulty.
“When the call came through I didn’t know it was Sam, I was just told there were adults and children on board.
“He has come in for a wee bit of stick from the rest of the crew, but it was exactly the right thing to do and exactly what the RNLI is there for,” said Mr Smith.