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New LOM for Dunbar RNLI as Dave steps down after 12 years

Lifeboats News Release

This month (August) has seen a key change in the management team at Dunbar Lifeboat Station.

Dave Anderson seen at Dunbar Harbour in front of station's all-weather Trent lifeboat.

RNLI/Douglas Wight

Dave Anderson, who is stepping down as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) at Dunbar after 12 years.

After 12 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM), Dave Anderson has handed over to Ian Wilson, who previously served as a launch authority.

Long-serving volunteer Dave, 63, will continue to act as a launch authority – whose job it is to assess whether it is safe to launch, regardless of the emergency – a role he held when he first joined Dunbar RNLI back in 1999.

In his 24-year association with the station, Dave has experienced many unusual call-outs, listening in as events unfold over the radio and liaising with HM Coastguard and the volunteer crew.

He said: ‘My first as launch authority was in November 1999 when a fully armed Tornado fighter jet suffered engine fire and ditched into the sea, a mile north of Torness. The lifeboat launched and the crew found the crash site and marked the position. It transpired the pilots had ejected over land and were unhurt.’

Another challenging service call for the crew was when a large fishing vessel broke down 60 miles offshore.

Dave recalled: ‘The boat was too big to bring to Dunbar so the crew had to tow it all the way up the river to Leith in foul weather conditions. It turned into a 24-hour shout for them – and the launch authorities.’

Dave was in the lifeboat station on 15th May 2009, when previous LOM David Lees instructed Dunbar’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) to launch in response to a distress call from a Swedish couple aboard a small yacht Ouhm, which was being overwhelmed by severe gale force nine winds and ten-metre-high waves. The rescue of the couple earned coxswain Gary Fairbairn an RNLI bronze medal for gallantry and the volunteer crew medal service certificates.

And the devastating storm of 2008, when Dunbar’s ALB Sir Ronald Pechell BT was swept onto rocks at Torness Power Station and damaged beyond repair, is a time Dave will never forget.

He said: ‘The first we knew was when Torness security called to say, “Your boat is on the rocks”. As it was Easter weekend, the station had to organise everything, calling out local suppliers to help with the salvage operation. Everyone pulled together. At one point I had to run into Peter Whitecross butchers to get around 60 pies for everyone who was helping out. At first the lifeboat looked OK but we soon discovered the hull was ripped open. Due to its water-tight cabin it was able to be re-floated and we had a relief lifeboat on service in less than a week.’

Originally from Glasgow, Dave moved to Dunbar in 1987 when he became an operations engineer at Torness Power Station. A keen sailor, he considered joining the crew and only stricter eyesight restrictions at the time prevented him going to sea. Instead, however, he became a launch authority and performed the role for 12 years before stepping up as LOM following the retirement of David Lees.

As Dave divides his time between Dunbar and Spain, where he has an apartment, he felt the time was right to hand over the reins. ‘It’s only sensible that the LOM is here, on hand if anything happens, as something always crops up,’ he said, ‘but when I’m here I’ll be available.’

And Dave, who has a grown-up son and daughter and, between partner Sheena Barker, has six grandchildren, knows the station is in good hands with Ian Wilson.

‘Ian has over 40 years’ experience with the RNLI and it is nice to be able to hand the LOM duties over to him,’ he said.

New LOM Ian, who officially took over at the start of August, said: ‘Dave is a tough act to follow, but I’m honoured to take on the role and hope to do my best for the crew and the community.’

Dunbar Lifeboat Management Group chair Mark Lees said: ‘Dave has been a fantastic servant to Dunbar lifeboat station over many years and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Being the operations manager is a very challenging job, totally voluntary and on call 24/7. It’s a huge testament to the kind of person that Dave is that he would give up so much of his personal time to serve both the station and the community, what he has given is truly humbling.’


RNLI media contacts

Douglas Wight, Dunbar RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789. [email protected]

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.

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 142,200 lives.

Dave Anderson (right) receives a gift to mark his 24 years of service as a volunteer with Dunbar RNLI chairman Mark Lees (left)

RNLI/Douglas Wight

Dave Anderson (right) receives a gift to mark his 24 years of service as a volunteer with Dunbar RNLI chairman Mark Lees (left)
New Dunbar LOM Ian Wilson showing his medal to mark 40 years' service.

RNLI/Nick Mailer

New Dunbar RNLI LOM Ian Wilson, who recently celebrated 40 years' service with the RNLI.

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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