A CAIRNEYHILL man who has been at sea for more than 65 years has been declared fit for duty at the age of 82.

Alec Laird started his career at 16-years-old when he joined the Royal Navy.

During his career he worked as a deep sea diver salvaging wrecked RAF planes, most notably after the Falklands War, and is now a senior able seaman in the North Sea.

He was left "gutted" at 81 when he was told a cataracts in his eye would stop him from completing his strict medical exam to work offshore but spent the next nine months determined to get back to full health.

Alec succeeded in his goal and passed the test with flying colours on his 82nd birthday, allowing him to get back out on the sea.

Dunfermline Press: Alec has no plans to give up work any time soon. Alec has no plans to give up work any time soon. (Image: Alex Laird)

His son, Alex Laird, told the Press: "He was Royal Navy and then Merchant Navy which got him into the diving, he was actually a hard hat diver.

"He was very good at what he did, and that's never him saying it, that's other people.

"That career has got to come to an end at some point, we thought excellent, 60-years-old, feet up, Tenerife, mid-life crisis sports car, but he just wouldn't stop.

"A company took him on thinking it would be a couple of months and he's still there 20 years later.

"We never stop him doing what he wants to do, but we thought the company would ask him to give up.

"But they put him back on pay before he even decided he was going to go back!"

Alec's determination has already caught attention - a YouTube series about his life at sea has racked up around 7000 views in total after one of his shipmates took the opportunity to pick his brains.

It tells his story in his own words, from his birth in Orkney up to the present day.

While he could opt for the easy option on calm water with his company, The Craig Group, Alec has decided to return to the North Sea, and the same boat he left last year.

Alex continued: "They wouldn't have him back if he couldn't do it, there's no dodging it, he must be able to do what everybody else does.

"It's not like he sits up the bridge, he goes in the rescue boat, he does the fire teams, part of the medical side, there's no hiding.

"He obviously is well liked and well respected.

"He doesn't like anything easy, there's an easy shift where you can go to calm water, but he's in the Norwegian sector in the North Sea getting smashed to smithereens."

Alex recalled the moment a viral video appeared on his phone - showing a man with a suspect likeness to his dad enjoying a cup of tea while sailing on stormy waters.

He explained: "I was having a cup of tea last year and there was a viral video getting shared dramatically and it was this ship in horrendous conditions and the guys on the starboard side were having a cup of tea in this storm.

"I thought it looked like my dad and it obviously was my dad in horrendous weather conditions on the side of the brig just casually having a cup of tea.

"There's waves you just wouldn't believe, it's one of the toughest sectors in the world, I wouldn't do it.

"It's very dangerous, very grueling and very taxing on the body."

Dunfermline Press: Alec doesn't take the easy option and will again be heading out on the rocky North Sea for 28 days at a time. Alec doesn't take the easy option and will again be heading out on the rocky North Sea for 28 days at a time. (Image: Alex Laird)

Alec's long career and rigorous medical exams mean he is as fit as anyone else on his ship - and possibly the best man to have around when things go wrong.

Alex said: I've been in a few situations with him outside the job and when trouble starts he's a good guy to have around.

"He's saved a few people's lives in his time of being away.

"He feels safe out there, he's highly medically trained, obviously from the diving world if anybody in his team was to go down.

"He brought somebody back in the 90's from his diving team and there's a letter saying 'Thanks for my life'."

He continued: "People don't understand when you're at sea you don't have any services, you are the services.

"If the ship goes on fire you've got to be able to put the fire out, if somebody has a heart attack you've got to be able to save them, if somebody has a problem with their mind you've got to be a psychiatrist.

"You've just got to be everything at sea."

While Alex followed in his dad's footsteps towards marine work, his job is below the waves rather than above them, working for NATO on a submarine rescue vessel.

He often misses his dad, who does 28 days onboard and 28 days on land, when he also leaves for work, but wouldn't have it any different.

He said: "You don't stop because you get old, you get old because you stop moving.

"We're all proud of him, to the people from his diving team who are still around he's a real inspiration."

You can watch the series on Alec's life at sea on the @Bigwavemaster1 YouTube channel.