Both Dunbar Boats Launched to “Unconscious Casualty” on Ocean Rowing Boat

Lifeboats News Release

Dunbar’s RNLI lifeboat volunteers yesterday (Friday) rescued a rower who had fallen unconscious on board an ocean rowing boat.

Photo shows the ILB leaving Dunbar Harbour.

RNLI/Douglas Wight

Dunbar's ILB launches to report of unconscious casualty aboard an ocean rowing boat.

UK Coastguard paged for the all-weather (ALB) and inshore (ILB) lifeboats at 2.45pm after the 38-year-old rower fell ill on a training passage from Edinburgh to St Andrews. The two-man crew had set off at 9.30pm on Thursday night but by 3.30am the rower fell ill. He had been sick and was drifting in and out of consciousness. The rowers, aboard the state-of-the-art ocean vessel, detoured to North Berwick on Friday but shortly after leaving there at midday they realised they could not continue. They intended to come ashore at Dunbar but, when the rower’s condition worsened, they called for help.

The ILB launched at 2.55pm and seven minutes later met with the casualties, who were drifting a mile north of Dunbar Harbour. One volunteer crew member went aboard and assessed the rower, who by now was able to speak but was clearly unwell. In a two-metre swell and force six westerly wind, the decision was made to transfer him to the ILB and then to the ALB, which had launched from Torness and arrived on scene at 3.20pm. Once on board the ALB, the crew continued to assess the casualty and provided him with oxygen. Meanwhile, the lifeboat crew member stayed with the other rower on board the boat.

Tidal conditions in the harbour meant the ILB took the casualty from the ALB into the harbour where paramedics from the Scottish Ambulance Service were waiting to assess the rower. Coastguard teams from Dunbar and North Berwick and the police also attended. Both boats then assisted in towing the rowing boat into the harbour.

Dunbar lifeboat coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “This was potentially a challenging operation in tricky conditions but we were able to utilise all the assets at our disposal and the casualty and vessel were brought ashore safely and without incident. Thanks to the volunteers for the excellent job they did.”

If you get into trouble at sea call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Photo shows the ILB approaching the ocean rowing boat.

RNLI/Douglas Wight

Dunbar's ILB crew made contact with the casualty vessel seven minutes after launching.
Photo shows Dunbar's ILB and ALB lifeboats preparing for the casualty transfer.

RNLI/Douglas Wight

The ILB crew transferred the casualty to the all-weather lifeboat to take him to Dunbar Harbour.

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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 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.

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