The oldest message in a bottle spent 99 years and 43 days at sea. A drift bottle with number card 731B was recorded by Captain Brown (UK) as being released at 60 14.00'N 002 22.00'W on 12 June 1914. It was recovered by fishing boat engineer Andrew Lovie (UK) at 59 33.60'N 002 04.20'W on 25 July 2013, while sorting through fish from a trawl landed by the Banff fishing boat Endeavour 4 skippered by David Lovie (UK).
Bottles with messages were used as part of scientific experiments to chart water currents. Captain Brown conducted experiments in this vein in the early twentieth century and the launch of this particular bottle features in his log book. Captain Brown deployed the drift bottles for the Fishery Board for Scotland. The Fishery Board for Scotland also had a laboratory at Nigg Bay, Aberdeen which is not far from the present location of the present Marine Laboratory site. In 1923 the Marine Laboratory was set up at its present location in Aberdeen and continued the work that had been run by The Fishery Board for Scotland albeit in a different location and department name. The Captain Brown log book would have been transferred to the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen at this point. The Marine Laboratory continued drifter work from this location up to the late 1950s/early 1960s