LIFEBOAT crews from both sides of the Forth were called out in fading light and near gale force winds to help in the search for a stand-up paddleboarder.

A member of the public had spotted the paddleboarder struggling in the strong westerly winds as darkness was falling on Sunday afternoon.

RNLI volunteers from both North Berwick and Kinghorn were called out at just after 5.15pm.

John McCarter, helm of North Berwick lifeboat, said: “Conditions were very rough with waves repeatedly breaking over the lifeboat making progress to the area slow.

“Thankfully in situations like this we are able to work alongside our neighbouring stations to support us.

“This call out demonstrates the commitment of our volunteers crew and also the capabilities of our wee lifeboat, the design may have not changed much in 50 years but it is a very capable craft keeping our crew and casualties safe, whatever the conditions.”

Coastguard teams from Fisherrow and North Berwick used CCTV to identify that a paddleboarder matching the casualty’s description had been sighted ashore and the search was stood down at 6.20pm.

North Berwick lifeboat covered in excess of 22 nautical miles and was at sea for more than two hours in tough conditions.

Duncan Barbour, voluntary water safety officer for North Berwick, encouraged people to take precautions before going out on the water.

He said: ‘If you’re heading out on the water to paddleboard, always check the forecast, it can be very hard to paddle back to shore in an offshore or strengthening wind.

“Always wear a buoyancy aid, a board leash and have a waterproofed means of calling for help on your person.

“Wearing a wetsuit, or a drysuit in winter, is highly advised as the water is less than half the temperature than it is in summer and can cause cold water shock all year round.

“In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”