An idea which was first discussed in 2018 has become a reality as new Coastal Safety Markers in the East Neuk have been installed are now operational. The project has been run in partnership with RNLI Anstruther Community Safety Team, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and Police Scotland and The Waid Academy.
Starting at Shell Bay and stretching to Kingsbarns, there are 38 markers in total. Should people find themselves in an emergency, they can give their nearest post number to the emergency services to give an accurate location. All post locations are held by the emergency services, meaning that they know exactly where each post is and where the best access point is for each one, cutting down the response times significantly when every minute is of vital importance.
Anstruther RNLI Coxswain, Michael Bruce, commented: “After first discussing the idea with FCCT nearly four years ago, it is overwhelming to finally see it come to life. As Coxswain, my number one priority is to reach a person in distress as quickly and as safely as possible. The safety marker system will, without doubt, reduce the time we take to locate anyone in distress on this stretch of the Fife Coastal Path, allowing RNLI volunteers and partner agencies to share vital local knowledge and evacuate casualties to onward treatment much quicker.”
The project would not have been possible without the community members and local businesses who sponsored the posts and the panels, raising a massive £5625! Police Scotland also contributed financially to enable the project to be successfully delivered.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust brought different skills to the project, with Conservation Officer Chris Walker leading for the Trust in the development phase, developing designs for the panels and posts, while the FCCT’s Maintenance Team installed the posts and panels, in late 2021 at times in less than favourable weather conditions.
Chris commented, “The partnership has been an enormous success, with such enthusiastic buy in from the community allowing the initial conversation to become a reality. Although these posts have been installed to be used in emergencies, we hope that walker will find other uses for them too. It could be meeting a friend at E-14, finding a great bird watching spot near E-21, or just enjoying the views at E-3.”
Shona Jones who sponsored one of the markers commented, ” As a business owner whose business attracts visitors to the area, our customers safety is important – these posts are our way to improve access to help if and when it’s required, an extremely valuable contribution.”
The project will be reviewed over coming years, with the hope that the model is taken up by other coastal locations around the UK.