Local Hero

Oor loons fae the Broch*

*Our boys from Fraserburgh #welovedoric

Let us introduce you to one of Fraserburgh’s born-and-bred Local Heroes, Vic Sutherland.

Hello Vic! Tell us about your work in and around Fraserburgh.

My name is Vic Sutherland and I am Coxswain of the RNLI Lifeboat in Fraserburgh. I am responsible for training my crew of 19 volunteers, for maintaining the Lifeboat and equipment, and promoting the work of the RNLI locally to raise awareness of our safety messages.

The main part of my job is saving lives at sea. As a Coxswain, that involves safe navigation, the welfare of the crew, communicating with the UK Coastguard and handling hazards to get the job done. Getting out to sea as quickly and safely as possible is no mean feat… we have 10 minutes to launch the boat which includes getting volunteers to leave their day jobs and get to the station!

When we’re paged we often have no idea of what the emergency is until we have launched, it could be something as simple as a vessel transmitting from the wrong channel (Channel 16 is the emergency channel), a fishing boat that has fouled their propeller, or something as critical as searching for a missing person.



What’s the best thing about your job on the sea?

It’s the best feelin’ in the world, eh.

I’ve grown up in RNLI, and my father and his brothers were all involved with the RNLI, so it’s all I’ve ever known. This is my ideal job, what I’ve always wanted to do. I was 21 when I signed up – and all of my work has been on the sea: fishing, offshore oil vessels, training fast rescue-boats.

The camaraderie is brilliant. Folk “come fae a’ walks a life” {1}, some from the fishing and others who have no experience or knowledge of the sea. “I ken fit the sea kan be like” {2} but it always amazes me that others, with little experience, can overcome their fears and emotions on the water to help someone in need. I canna thank the volunteers enough for that.

We’ve had one call-out that justified my career as a Coxswain; when our crew rescued 2 children who were being swept out to sea by the tides. If we hadn’t launched as quickly as we did, if we hadn’t got there when we did, if the crew hadn’t followed their previous training properly, we would be in a very different conversation. As it was, we launched the boat within 6 minutes, got there safely, administered First Aid and saved the precious lives of two local children being swept out to sea.



What do you like about living in Fraserburgh?

“Av been brocht up here ma hale life” {3}.

I love the community – no one would pass you in the street without saying hello and there’s always “plenty o’ crack” {4} with the lads.

I love the harbour too. There’s a lot of tourists come down to the harbour in the summertime and will stop and ask about the Fishing Vessels – there’s always someone who will stop and take time to talk to them. I think “a’body’s proud o’ their fishing heritage” {5}, and there’s still a lot of local folk who’ll take a run down to the harbour just to see what’s going on.

Where, for you, is the bonniest spot in Fraserburgh?

My family (and myself) were brought up around Castle Terrace, near the Wine Tower and The Lighthouse Museum. My favourite spot is at the West Side of the Wine Tower, where there’s a bench mounted on the heidland in memory of my Granny and Granda, looking South across the Bay. The plaque on the bench says ‘Come & rest a while’ and that’s where I go with my own family and the dog to watch the boats go past and enjoy a moment to mysel’.

What would you like tourists to know about Fraserburgh?

“Dinna be feart to come and ask.” {6}

If you’re thinking of going in the water, there’s a great, active group of surfers who are friendly and know exactly where the sandbars and rip currents are. Ask them! And ask locals you meet where the best places to go are.

How do you feel about being called a Local Hero?

Well, some folk say that but most of us here “jis git on wi’ it” {7}. It’ll make my crew laugh, that’s for sure.

Discover Fraserburgh. Scotland’s hidden treasure.

  1. Come from all walks of life.
  2. I know what the sea can be like.
  3. I have been brought up here.
  4. Lots of laughs.
  5. Everyone is proud of their fishing heritage.
  6. Don’t be afraid to come and ask.
  7. Just get on with it.
Local Hero