Dunbar crew respond to distress call while at sea on training exercise

Lifeboats News Release

Dunbar’s RNLI lifeboat crew cut short an exercise today (Sunday) to respond to two kayakers in trouble.

The volunteer crew was conducting a routine training exercise with the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) near Belhaven at 11.10am when UK Coastguard tasked them in response to a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) that had been activated off the coast of Port Seton in the Firth of Forth.

The crew abruptly halted their anchoring exercise and prepared the lifeboat to make best speed to the casualty.

Making good ground, the Dunbar crew was joined by lifeboats from both Kinghorn and North Berwick RNLI and Coastguard teams from South Queensferry, Fisherrow and North Berwick, as well as a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Prestwick, Ayrshire.

Kinghorn Lifeboat was first to arrive on scene and established that the automated PLB alert had come from two kayakers, one of which had capsized and was in the water. After recovering both kayakers and their craft, Kinghorn crew continued to Port Seton Harbour where Coastguard teams and an ambulance crew were waiting to assess the casualties for the effects of cold water exposure.

UK Coastguard stood down the Dunbar lifeboat at 12.55pm and the crew proceeded to escort North Berwick’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) back to their base in rapidly worsening sea conditions. The Dunbar crew then continued back to its mooring at Torness and by 2.20pm was refuelled a ready for service.

The positive outcome of this particular rescue was greatly advantaged by the equipment carried by the kayakers. PLBs assist rescue teams in the speedy location of a casualty and offer an easy to use and invaluable addition to any seafarer’s safety equipment, alongside the more standard buoyancy aid, radio and phone.

Dunbar coxswain Gary Fairbairn, said, “This particular shout shows the value of our regular training exercises as the crew were able to rapidly respond to this tasking while already at sea.”

RNLI/Nick Mailer

North Berwick ILB alongside Dunbar ALB

RNLI/Nick Mailer

Crewman Henry Weaver plots a course to the casualty.

RNLI/Nick Mailer

Crewman Chris Woods communicates with UK Coastguard.

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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, in a normal year, 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.

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