Dunbar Crews Called Out for Real on Lifeboat Day
Dunbar’s lifeboat crews raced from their own gala celebrations on Saturday (July 8) to help in the search for a missing diver.
The volunteers had been taking part in the town’s annual Lifeboat Fete – their biggest fundraising event of the year – when the emergency arose.
Hundreds of people who had flocked to Dunbar’s High Street and Harbour to enjoy the parade and festivities had watched the crew perform exercises to demonstrate some of their rescue capabilities, including an exercise to assist a diver in trouble.
But, at 4.25pm, both the all weather (ALB) and inshore (ILB) lifeboats were launched for real when the diver was reported missing three and a half miles north of Dunbar. At the request of UK Coastguard, both boats, a Search and Rescue helicopter and the vessel Conserver conducted an extensive search of the area near the wreck of a First World War U-boat where the diver had last been seen.
However, after three hours and with no sign of the missing man, all assets were stood down and both lifeboats returned to Dunbar.
Dunbar RNLI Coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this incident. Even though it was Lifeboat Day we were still on call and it highlighted just why we are dependent on the huge support we get from people in Dunbar.”
Earlier, warm sunshine and a host of star attractions helped to make this year’s Lifeboat Day a huge success. Hundreds of people lined the High Street to greet Lifeboat Queen Rhian Paxton, 15, and the rest of her court, while later dancers from the hugely successful ‘Strictly for the Lifeboats’ – which included many of the crew – wowed the crowd with their stunning routines.
Organiser Veronica Davies said: “I want to thank everyone for all their amazing support, and to the sponsors, stall holders and businesses near and far. They all made it a fantastic day.”
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.