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Training Exercise Turns Real as Dunbar Crew Responds to Distress Call 10/3/19

Photo: Nick Mailer

Photo: Nick Mailer

Dunbar’s RNLI lifeboat crew cut short an exercise today (Sunday) to respond to two kayakers in trouble.

The volunteer crew was conducting a routine training exercise with the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) near Belhaven Bay at 11.10am when UK Coastguard tasked them in response to a personal locator beacon (PLB) that had been activated off the coast of Port Seton in the Firth of Forth.

The crew abruptly halted the anchoring exercise and prepared the lifeboat to make best speed to the casualty.

Making good ground, the Dunbar crew was joined by lifeboats from both Kinghorn and North Berwick RNLI and Coastguard teams from South Queensferry, Fisherrow and North Berwick, as well as a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Prestwick, Ayshire.

Photo: Nick Mailer

Photo: Nick Mailer

Kinghorn lifeboat was first to arrive on scene and established that the automated PLB alert had come from two kayakers, one of which had capsized and was in the water. After recovering both kayakers and their craft, Kinghorn crew continued to Port Seton Harbour where Coastguard teams and an ambulance crew were waiting to assess the casualties for the effects of cold water exposure.

Photo: Nick Mailer

Photo: Nick Mailer

UK Coastguard stood down the Dunbar lifeboat at 12:55pm and the crew proceeded to escort North Berwick’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) back to their base in rapidly worsening sea conditions. The Dunbar crew then continued back to its mooring at Torness and by 2.20pm was refuelled and ready for service.


The positive outcome of this particular rescue was greatly advantaged by the equipment carried by the kayakers. PLB’s assist rescue teams in the speedy location of a casualty and offer an easy to use and invaluable addition to any seafarer’s safety equipment, alongside the more standard buoyancy aid, radio and phone. 


Dunbar coxswain Gary Fairbairn, said: “This particular shout shows the value of our regular training exercises as the crew were able to rapidly respond to this tasking while already at sea.”

Crew: Gary Fairbairn, Alistair Punton, Chris Woods, Rebecca Miller, Allan Ross, Nick Mailer, Quentin Dimmer, Henry Weaver, Douglas Wight