Both Dunbar Lifeboats Tasked to Humpback Whale


Dunbar RNLI’s lifeboats were tasked last night to help remove a humpback whale that had washed up dead on the shore at Tyninghame on Tuesday.

Volunteer crews for both the inshore (ILB) and all-weather (ALB) were needed to carefully tow the nine-metre carcas to another local beach where a post-mortem could be carried out.

East Lothian Council’s Countryside Rangers requested lifeboat assistance as the whale’s location at John Muir Country Park had made it difficult for them to conduct their tests. At 5.30pm on Tuesday evening the crew of the ILB managed to tow the whale from the shore to Dunbar where the tow was picked up by the ALB for the remainder of the journey.


The whale, a juvenile male, was believed to have been feeding in the area and had become entangled in rope before drowning when it was then washed ashore on a high tide. The post mortem was being carried out by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme.

Dunbar ALB lifeboat coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “It was more awkward than anything else because we were dealing with a dead weight. When you add to that the considerable drag in the water, it was a tricky task.”


It is the third time the lifeboat crew has been tasked to help move a whale in recent years. The volunteers have also been called upon to assist with a dead leatherback turtle in that time.

Gary said: “It is always good to be able to assist and help the Countryside Rangers and, for us, it turned into a worthwhile training exercise.”


ILB: Alan Blair, Andrzej Hajduk, Nick Mailer, Kieran Fairbairn

ALB: Gary Fairbairn, Gipper Ainslie, Gordon Mackay, Gary Crowe, Kevin Keillor