Both Dunbar Lifeboats Tasked to Rescue Pleasure Craft
Dunbar’s RNLI lifeboats were launched earlier yesterday (Saturday) as a routine call-out to help a stricken pleasure craft escalated into a multi-agency emergency involving a coastguard helicopter, fire and ambulance crews.
UK Coastguard paged our volunteers at 11.35am after the three-man crew of the vessel suffered engine failure 200 metres northeast of the entrance to Dunbar Harbour.
The inshore lifeboat (ILB) launched ten minutes later and quickly reached the casualties but just as they prepared to tow the boat back to the harbour the volunteers faced their own engine failure, which although not placing the crew in any immediate danger did mean they were no longer able to help the crew of the pleasure craft, who had travelled from Motherwell to go afloat.
As Dunbar’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) launched from Torness Power Station to assist, coastguard teams from Dunbar and North Berwick monitored the situation as the stricken pleasure craft began to drift towards rocks. However two kayakers helped guide the vessel away from danger. A UK Coastguard Rescue helicopter from Inverness, which was already airborne, attended the scene as a support option and North Berwick lifeboat was also tasked to help.
When the ALB crew arrived on scene at 12.30pm they set up a tow with the boat and returned it safely to Dunbar Harbour. The crew then went to the assistance of the ILB and by 1pm had safely towed the lifeboat back to the harbour.
Dunbar ALB coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “What should have been a routine shout became a little more problematic when our lifeboat unexpectedly suffered a mechanical failure. Our crews are trained to deal with any eventuality and handled the situation well.
“All the agencies worked together to ensure things didn’t get out of hand.
‘We are especially grateful to the two kayakers who were on scene to help move the vessel away from rocks until we arrived and to our colleagues in North Berwick who also launched to help if needed.”
The ALB returned to Torness at 1.30pm where it was readied for service. The ILB has since been fully repaired and is also back on service.
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, 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.