Not all the dangers associated with fishing occurred at sea; being ashore presented its own problems, particularly during stormy weather when the boats had to be drawn up the shores and banks to be made safe and put out of reach of rogue waves.
Often during the early 19th century, our shores and creeks were described as “safe havens” however the truth is they were little more than semi-sheltered inlets with the most basic and rudimentary protection from the elements. I’m sure that many a life was lost whilst performing the task of drawing up the boats during stormy weather and this example, which occurred in December of this year, was typical of the dangers our old fisher friends faced regularly.
A young man, George Main, along with other family members and fellow fishers was at Portlethen shore where they were employed in securing and drawing up those boats that were exposed to the boisterous seas that were running along the coast that particular day. His own boat was in danger of being swept away and in his eagerness to reach and make it secure, he was suddenly overwhelmed by a large wave. Both Mr Main and the boat were washed away; the boat was driven into the rocks and Mr Main drowned.
Mr Main’s father and brother, who were present, witnessed the accident and both made a gallant attempt to rescue him. Both men ended up in the water and would have drowned too had it not been for quick thinking of their fishing companions who managed, with some difficulty, to secure lines to both men and draw them out of the water.