Stormy Weather (Save Shetland Coastguard)
I can honestly say that the seas off Shetland had calmed considerably before I took the photo above this afternoon; In the early hours of yesterday morning, the Met Office recorded huge waves up to 52 feet (15.9m) in height to the west of Shetland (see BBC News article 'Huge waves recorded off Shetland and Western Isles'). It's a timely reminder of the extreme conditions faced by those who work on the seas off Scotland...
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is proposing (at the time of writing) to close coastguard stations around the country, including in coastal communities such as Shetland and Stornoway. Shetland's coastguard emergency calls would be answered instead by a centre in Aberdeen.
As a person with family and friends who spend time offshore, and someone who spends time around the coast, I'm deeply worried about the proposals. Shetland is located in an exposed and busy part of ocean, with oil and fishing industries, salmon farming, cruise liners, tour boat operators, recreational boat users, etc, all of whom need the coastguard service to be as good as possible. You can find out more about Shetland Coastguard and the MCA proposals at www.shetlandcoastguard.info