Dunbar’s lifeboat crews raced from their own gala celebrations on Saturday (July 8) to help in the search for a missing diver.
The volunteers had been taking part in the town’s annual Lifeboat Fete – their biggest fundraising event of the year – when the emergency arose.
Hundreds of people who had flocked to Dunbar’s High Street and Harbour to enjoy the parade and festivities had watched the crew perform exercises to demonstrate some of their rescue capabilities, including one to assist a diver in trouble.
But, at 4.25pm, both the all weather (ALB) and inshore (ILB) lifeboats were launched for real when the diver was reported missing three and a half miles north of Dunbar. At the request of UK Coastguard, both boats, a Search and Rescue helicopter and the vessel Conserver conducted an extensive search of the area near the wreck of a First World War U-boat where the diver had last been seen.
However, after three hours and with no sign of the missing man, all assets were stood down and both lifeboats returned to Dunbar.
Dunbar RNLI Coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this incident. Even though it was Lifeboat Day we were still on call and it highlighted just why we are dependent on the huge support we get from people in Dunbar.”
Earlier, warm sunshine and a host of star attractions helped to make this year’s Lifeboat Day a huge success. Hundreds of people lined the High Street to greet Lifeboat Queen Rhian Paxton, 15, and the rest of her court, while later dancers from the hugely successful ‘Strictly for the Lifeboats’ – which included many of the crew – wowed the crowd with their stunning routines.
Organiser Veronica Davies said: “I want to thank everyone for all their amazing support, and to the sponsors, stall holders and businesses near and far. They all made it a fantastic day.”
ALB: Gary Fairbairn, Gipper Ainsley, Alan Blair, Alistair Punton, Gordon Mackay, Chris Woods, Kevan Jamieson
ILB: Gordon Kirkham, Gary Crowe, Adrian Lavery, Douglas Wight