Rise In Callouts For Dunbar Lifeboat Crew In 2016

Dunbar’s volunteer lifeboat crew saw an increase in callouts and rescues last year.

The town’s All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) and In-shore Lifeboat (ILB) were called out a total of 33 times in 2016, a rise of 11 shouts from the previous year.

The crews rescued 23 people in total, 14 with the ILB and nine with the ALB. Of those rescued, just one was under 18. None of those rescued required medical attention from the volunteers.

Fourteen of the callouts took place in the dark, highlighting the 24-nature of the volunteer service.

The number of callouts for 2016 represented a five-year high in shouts for Dunbar.

The RNLI is using these rescue statistics to ask the public to make safety a priority, whether that means wearing a lifejacket, checking their vessel before they go afloat, knowing they should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard in the event of an emergency, checking the tide times before they set out, or staying away from cliff edges and unstable coastal paths.

Will Stephens, the RNLI’s Head of Lifesaving, said: ‘Once again we are extremely grateful for the dedication shown by our lifesavers. Our volunteer lifeboat crews spent over 228,869 hours at sea last year, but we really do see our rescue service as a last resort.

‘We’d really like to see people paying more attention to safety messages and giving the water the heathy respect it deserves. While we will always answer the call for help, myself and everyone within the RNLI would like to see people staying safer at the coast.’

Farewell to long serving crewman after over 30 years of service

Mike on the left being presented his long service medal by Dave Anderson the lifeboat operations manager at Dunbar.

After over 30 years of service Mike Shaw is turning off his pager for the last time. Mike joined the crew back in the mid 80s as a young man eager to volunteer for his local RNLI station.

Mike took part in a number of shouts over the years showing his ability to help others in desperate times and gaining the trust from his fellow crewman and friends. 

After 10 years as a crewman Mike decided to stand down from crew and focus on being shore crew.  He has been the warming face on the pier after long shouts to many crew over the years. Helping casualties tie up their vessels and offering help when it was needed the most. He has also helped neighbouring stations far and wide while he was off on family holidays. 

Coxswain Gary Fairbairn presents Mike with his gift and thanks him for his time and work over the years. 

Mike was presented with his long service medal at the crews annual Christmas meal on Saturday night along with a gift from all the crew and the station. Mike will be deeply missed by all here at Dunbar lifeboat station and we would like to thank him for all his time and work he has given up over the many years of service. 

From all the crew here at Dunbar we wish Mike the very best in the future.


Lifeboat Cube launched to raise funds for RNLI!

Courtesy of GWS Photography, Dunbar 

Dunbar RNLI in conjunction with GWS photography launch their Lifeboat Cube Poster to help raise funds for our brave volunteers! Check out your favourite member of the crew 'strike the pose' in a wee MDF box, all in the aid of charity! The crew at Dunbar lifeboat station have been busy visiting GWS photography down at there new studio at East links. Grahame kindly agreed to put together a crew cube to help raise funds for the RNLI. The crew visited his studio over a number of sessions with different equipment to try and show there humorous sides. This was great experience for all the crew who are delighted with the turn out.

The cube picture is available to buy online at  https://gwsphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/drnli all proceeds will be donated to the RNLI up until the 31st of December so get your orders in quick! 


Courtesy of GWS Photography, Dunbar

Grahame also very kindly took professional portraits of all the crew who attended and are also available to purchase too. This would be a great Christmas present for all family and friends. These can also be found online at  https://gwsphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/drnli/ 

On behalf of all the crew here at Dunbar Lifeboat station we would like to say a massive thank you to Grahame and all his team at GWS photography for all the hard work they have put into this. You can see more of Grahame's work here on his main website. http://gwls.photium.com/

Dunbar Lifeboat Queen 2016

With just 24 days to go to our annual Lifeboat day on the 16th of July, preparations are already underway on making the day a huge success. 

As always Dunbar Grammar School had the big job of deciding who this years lifeboat queen would be. Each year the School asks the pupils to pick someone who has a connection with either the fishing community or Dunbar lifeboat. This is the same process for Dunbar Primary School as well who have to pick two attendants to be part of the big day. To complete the lineup a herald and flower girl are also picked from either family of the lifeboat crew or the fishing community within Dunbar.  


We are happy to announce the line up for Dunbar Lifeboat Day 2016 


Dunbar lifeboat Queen: Joanna McPhillips

Attendants: Jodi Fairbairn & Ruby-Sky Forrester

 Herald: Lee Courtney

Flower girl: Ava Crowe 


The Queen will also be invited to do a station visit ahead of the gala day to have a look around and be introduced to full time coxswain Gary Fairbairn and station mechanic Gipper Ainslie. The inshore lifeboat along with its crew and crew from the all weather lifeboat will also be there to say hello. 


Remember to invite all the family for a fun packed day out! 

last years Lifeboat day 2015. photo credit Jeff Carter www.macleanphotographic.co.uk  

Dunbar lifeboat open day June 19th! Your Local Lifeboat station needs you!


some of the volunteer shop workers 

The idea of the June 19th event is to encourage people to find out more about how the station operates and highlight the volunteering opportunities.

Station fund raising convener Veronica Davies says anyone with an interest in lifeboats is most welcome to attend.

“It is amazing the number of people who are involved in one way or another in keeping the station going. There are volunteering opportunities on all levels from helping out for a few hours on a fete day to undergoing the intensive training offered by the RNLI and becoming a member of the crew.

There will be existing volunteers on hand between 1pm and 4pm on the Sunday to explain their roles and give an insight into how the station works also both lifeboats will be on display for the public to have a look around.

Dunbar RNLI lifeboat coxswain Gary Fairbairn and members of the crews of both the All Weather Lifeboat and the inshore boat will be on hand to tell potential volunteers about the training on offer.

Gary said: “We are hoping to find some recruits for the inshore and all weather lifeboat teams – ideally people living and working in Dunbar and available for call outs day and night.

“The great thing about the RNLI is the training is superb and even people with no seagoing experience can become valuable members of the team.

“Some of the most senior crew members had very little boat experience before joining the station and we are very supportive of newcomers and do all we can to help them become qualified and valued. All roles in the station are open equally to men and women.”

The open day is at the lifeboat station on the Victoria Harbour between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday June 19th.

Come speak to the amazing team we have here at Dunbar and find out if you have what it takes!

Shaggy Dog story leads to a whopper RNLI donation

THE heart-warming story of a dog rescued by Dunbar RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew has raised a remarkable £2,800 for the station – and helped educate children on seaside safety.

Left to right: Laura with Bramble Crew: Rebecca and Chrissstopher also Jane with Thistle 

Left to right: Laura with Bramble Crew: Rebecca and Chrissstopher also Jane with Thistle 

‘Bramble and Thistle’, a children’s book penned by Laura Graham, illustrated by her friend Jane Rutherford and inspired by the work of Dunbar’s RNLI lifeboat crew, has sold out its print run, raising the staggering amount in the process.

Laura and Jane, two teachers at Belhaven Hill School, teamed up to publish the book after being amazed by the work of their local volunteer crew.

Laura, whose Bedlington Terrier Bramble has now starred in two children’s adventures, said: “We were thrilled by the interest in the book. It had only been on sale since December but completely sold out.

“We asked people to make a donation for the book and most people very generously gave £5. Thanks to another incredibly generous donation that covered our printing costs we were able to pass all the proceeds to Dunbar lifeboat station.

“The crew do a lot of good work with the school children so it’s been great to be able to give something back.”

Delighted Dunbar RNLI Coxswain Gary Fairbairn, said: “We can’t thank Laura and Jane enough. What they have done is a great achievement, especially in a small town like Dunbar.”

Gary, who took receipt of the cheque from Laura and Jane this week, added: “Not only is it a lovely story but it will hit home to kids the importance of staying safe at the seaside.”

The book, which was sold in various shops around Dunbar, told the story of mischievous scamp Bramble landing Thistle in trouble on Belhaven Beach. The quick thinking dog raised the alarm, however, sparking a rescue from the volunteer crew.

Dunbar Lifeboat Day 2015 only 7 days to go!!

           Only 7 days to go till our big annual gala day!                                                

Please help share to all your friends and family!

We hope you're all ready for the big day next saturday 18th July down the harbour. The crew and fundraisers are hard at work getting all the last bits and pieces ready for an amazing family day out!  The parade starts at 13:15 down the high street. Our  ILB along with your friendly coastguard team and local Fire bridge will also be waving their way down the street, so make sure to give them wave back!  

The harbour will be packed with loads to do for all the family along with belhaven's best bar! The all weather lifeboat will be tied up alongside the pier for all to step on board and have a look around! with some crew on hand to tell their stories. The ILB will also be in the harbour doing some exercises.


Weather and service calls permitted, Rescue 177 from HMS Gannet will be flying in to have a exercise with both our lifeboats. Showing everyone how we transfer casualties from boat to helicopter. Make sure to get your cameras ready! 

We are also looking for anyone who would like to donate any raffle/tombola prizes or even some of your amazing home baking! If you think you could help out in any way possible please contact us via or facebook or twitter accounts. Every little helps and will be greatly appreciated!! Thank you in advance.  


           Please help share this and spread the word about an amazing day out for everyone!



                                           We look forward to seeing you all next weekend! 



Dunbar man named in Queen’s Birthday Honours for transforming community support

Ken Headley with his wife Marie receiving the Retail Supporter Award from HRH the Duke of Kent at the RNLI’s 2009 Annual Supporter Awards

Lifetime supporter of the RNLI, Ken Headley, has been recognised in the Queen’s 2015 Birthday Honours List with a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his transformative approach to charity fundraising in Dunbar, Scotland.


Ken Headley has supported the Dunbar lifeboat by raising an incredible £75,000 of donations in one year alone. Taking on the role of running the lifeboat station shop when it was threatened with closure due to a lack of volunteers, Ken worked tirelessly with his wife Marie to bring in new supporters and give the shop a new lease of life. Over the next five years he transformed the shop into a vibrant, thriving retail unit with strong connections to the local community in spite of its challenging location.

In 2012 Ken took on an even greater challenge in opening Scotland’s first high street RNLI lifeboat souvenir shop. This was no mean feat as the premises required a significant amount of work to bring it up to an acceptable standard as well as doubling his commitment of time and effort to manage the two full-time shops. With the full support of the Dunbar lifeboat crew behind him, thanks to his track record of hard work and commitment to the RNLI, Ken was able to engage the skills of the volunteer crew themselves to undertake significant parts of the work for free which substantially brought down the cost of renovation.

Incredibly Ken has taken sales from less than £7,000 in one year to a cumulative turnover of the two shops being in excess of £75,700. This massive growth in turnover is a direct result of Ken’s exceptional efforts and passion for the RNLI. The total turnover since 2008 would actually pay for the Dunbar inshore lifeboat five times over. 

RNLI Chief Executive, Paul Boissier, said: ‘In a charity like the RNLI you sometimes come across a volunteer whose single-handed efforts make a huge difference.  Ken Headley is one such volunteer. 

‘It is testament to Ken’s passion for fundraising that the two shops now have no shortage of willing volunteers with Ken fitting their shifts around their availability. The Chairman of Dunbar Lifeboat Station recognises that Ken’s leadership has had a fundamental impact on the way the RNLI raises funds in and around Dunbar and the new shop has been a real boost to the town, the lifeboat station and the RNLI.

‘His achievements in Dunbar are the work of a man with a real passion for what he does in support of the RNLI's mission to save lives at sea. I am thrilled that he is being recognised with an BEM.’

Ken Headley said ‘It’s an honour – an unexpected honour – to receive this award. I couldn’t do it without my team of fantastic volunteers, so I’m accepting the award on their behalf. It’s a great recognition of all their hard work too.’ 

Source: http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Dunbar-ma...

Dunbar Lifeboat Day 2015

This year our annual gala day will be held on Saturday 18th of July from 13:15 to 18:00. Bring along the kids for a fun family day out. Variety of stalls, Children's Rides, Build Your Own Raft Race, Live Music and Bar.

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Our greatest supporters

As a way of saying thank you to some of the crew's greatest supporters, we invited them down to the station for the afternoon.  These supporters are those that put up with us going out of an evening for a couple of hours training instead of helping put the kids to bed. They put up with mum or dad disappearing at a moment's notice when their pagers sound, without knowing if they'll be back in an hour or back much, much later. We get all the credit but without them supporting us, we couldn't do what we do.

So at lunchtime today, some of the crew brought the All Weather boat up from it's mooring at Torness into the harbour.  After showing the kids (and big kids!) around the boat, letting them sit up at the controls and pretend to be lifeboat crew for the day, it was all back to the station for cakes, colouring and training for our future crew.

A huge thank you to the crew who organised today and brought the boat up, from all the families and friends.

Statistics For Dunbar Lifeboats 2014

Here are the Stats for Dunbar Lifeboats for 2014

Dunbar ALB Launched        14 times
Dunbar ILB Launched          17 times
People Rescued                   23 
Service time at Sea              415 Hrs. 
Exercise time at Sea             1093 Hrs.
Total Time spent at Sea         1508 Hrs  


That's 62.8 days our crew have spent at sea over 2014!

We would like to thank all the Crew and fundraisers who are all volunteers for their remarkable work and dedication here at Dunbar. This would not be possible without them.

Thank You

Dunbar Lifeboat goes to the aid of sinking fishing boat

Dunbar lifeboat is tonight helping a fishing boat that was in danger of sinking a mile North of the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth.

The boat, from Pittenweem in Fife, put out a mayday distress call at 20.42 tonight telling coastguards they were taking on water and their engine had stopped.

The trawler's leak has now been stemmed and Dunbar has been joined by North Berwick ILB and the Anstruther boat in pumping it out.

If the boat cannot restart its engine it will be towed to Pittenweem.