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Dunbar Crews Called Out for Real on Lifeboat Day

Lifeboats News Release

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 Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland