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Kinlochbervie fisherman who rescued seven people from sinking boat receives mariners' society 'meritorious actions' award from Princess Anne

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The bravery of a Kinlochbervie fisherman who went to the rescue after his father’s boat began to sink with sea anglers on board, has been recognised.

Peter Paterson has received an Individual Commendation for his ‘meritorious actions in rescuing others’ by national maritime charity, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

He was presented with the prestigious award, which also recognises his high-quality seamanship, by the charity’s patron Princess Anne at its annual Skill & Gallantry Awards, held at its AGM at Fishmonger’s Hall in London this week.

The incident happened on Saturday, August 1, last year at about 2.40pm when sea angling vessel Kerry broadcast a mayday emergency call stating that she was rapidly sinking.

The 32ft long motor cruiser with its skipper and six sea anglers aboard were about 150-200 metres from shore, off Sheigra and about six miles from Kinlochbervie.

With only a few brief minutes to abandon ship there was not enough time for the life raft to be inflated before the vessel went down.

The mayday call was heard by a local fisherman who alerted Mr Paterson in the knowledge that it was his father’s boat.

He rushed to his own boat Silver Dawn and, persuading a friend to act as his crew, headed out to the location of the sinking boat.

Expertly manoeuvring his boat and with the skilled assistance of his crew member, he picked up the first two casualties before positioning to embark the remaining five.

Several of the anglers could not swim or had not donned their life jackets correctly; as such they were physically clinging onto them to remain afloat, a task made only more challenging by the hypothermic effects of the sea water

Two of the casualties, both of whom were over 70, were clearly suffering the effects of cold-water immersion and needed to be rescued quickly.

Mr Paterson transported all of the casualties back to Kinlochbervie Harbour, where the emergency services were waiting to provide medical support.

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Captain Justin Osmond RN, said: “The Society’s Skill and Gallantry Awards provide us with an opportunity to honour acts of skill and professionalism displayed by those at sea, by giving remarkable individuals the special recognition they deserve.

“Peter Paterson’s swift and selfless actions led to a textbook recovery of seven personnel, and given the conditions, without his skill and quick thinking, the situation may well have had a much starker conclusion. As such, he is fully deserving of an Individual Commendation for this time-critical rescue.”

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society offer support to seafarers, and their dependants. It provides help to thousands of individuals each year by offering financial and practical support to those in need and last year launched a £1m Covid-19 support fund to further help seafarers in need affected by the pandemic.

To find out more information about the charity, visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk, www.facebook.com/shipwreckedmariners or follow @ShipwreckedSoc on Twitter.

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