Dunbar Lifeboat Station

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Dunbar lifeboat station
Dunbar Lifeboat Station
Dunbar Lifeboat Station is located in Scotland
Dunbar Lifeboat Station
General information
TypeRNLI Lifeboat Station
LocationDunbar Lifeboat Station, Victoria Harbour, Dunbar, East Lothian
Coordinates56°00′19″N 2°30′52″W / 56.00528°N 2.51444°W / 56.00528; -2.51444Coordinates: 56°00′19″N 2°30′52″W / 56.00528°N 2.51444°W / 56.00528; -2.51444
OwnerRoyal National Lifeboat Institution
Technical details

Dunbar Lifeboat Station is a lifeboat station located in Dunbar on the South East coast of Scotland, operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Dunbar Lifeboat Station currently operates a 'Trent' Class All Weather Lifeboat and a 'D' Class Inshore Lifeboat. The current coxswain is Gary Fairbairn.


Notable services[edit]

Yacht Ouhm 20 July 2009 In a force 8 gale and very rough seas, with swells of up to 7m, the skipper of the 8m Swedish yacht Ouhm issued a Pan-Pan call, which was picked up by Forth Coastguard. The request to launch the RNLI Dunbar lifeboat soon followed and the crew put to sea at 5.30pm and headed for a position 37 miles north east of the station.

The yacht was reported to have suffered two knockdowns and the skipper was finding it difficult to cope with the extreme weather conditions. The two people on board were drifting at speeds of up to 5 knots towards the north side of the Firth of Forth.

With the crew in their seats, the lifeboat soon cleared the breakwaters and made best speed towards the yacht.

However, further offshore several breaking seas hit the lifeboat as the swell became larger and the wind increased to a severe gale force 9. At one point, the lifeboat fell 10m from the crest of a wave. Soon afterwards, another huge wave knocked her on her side, but she was able to self right.

The lifeboat reached the yacht at 7.45pm and it was quickly decided that the skipper and his wife should be evacuated to the lifeboat. As there was no liferaft aboard, Coxswain Fairbairn would have the difficult task of getting alongside the small yacht in 10m seas. On the second approach, the lifeboat crew were able to grab the woman and pull her aboard the lifeboat. On the third approach alongside Ouhm the man was pulled from the deck and over the guardrails of the lifeboat. The couple were then taken to the safety of the wheelhouse and then back to dry land, the yacht having been abandoned.

RNLI Divisional Inspector for Scotland, Wave Crookes, says: ‘The RNLI is proud to recognise this service, which was carried out in the finest traditions of the Institution. Ouhm had already suffered two full knockdowns before the lifeboat arrived and I know the crew felt the couple’s lives were in grave danger. The woman said she “felt she was already saved” when she saw the lifeboat arrive alongside and the crew reaching down to pull her on board.

‘The coxswain demonstrated exemplary leadership and the whole crew showed extreme courage throughout the service. The conditions during the passage to the casualty were extreme but at no stage did the crew consider giving up, even when the lifeboat sustained damage and equipment broke loose. Coxswain Fairbairn’s boat handling was exemplary and neither the lifeboat nor the casualty suffered any damage while the casualties were evacuated. Dunbar Coxswain Gary Fairbairn is to be awarded the RNLI’s Bronze Medal for Gallantry for his part in saving a couple from their yacht in a severe gale on 15 May.

Coxswain Fairbairn’s crew on that night – Mechanic Kenny Peters and Crew Members Stuart Pirie, Kevin Keillor, Brian Cleator and John Watt – will each receive Medal Service Certificates.’[1]

Sir Ronald Pechell BT[edit]

Sir Ronald Pechell BT was a Trent class all weather lifeboat that operated at Dunbar from 1995 to 2008. During the Easter weekend of 2008 the lifeboat was damaged beyond economic repair after her moorings snapped during severe storms. The Sir Ronald Pechell Bt, valued at £208K in 2008, cost £1.05M to build in 1995 and in her 13 years of service at Dunbar had launched 206 times and rescued 171 people. The lifeboat, John Neville Taylor, from the charity’s relief fleet has been allocated to the town permanently.


All-weather lifeboats[edit]

Dates in service Class ON Op. No. Name Comments
1808–1821 Original Lifeboat[2]
1865–1893 33ft Self-righter P & S ON 220 Wallace
1893–1901 34ft Self-righter P & S ON 345 Sarah Pickard
1901–1931 35ft Liverpool P & S ON 443 William Arthur Millward
1931–1959 45ft 6in Watson-class ON 749 George and Sarah Strachan First motor lifeboat at station
1959–1986 47ft Watson-class ON 947 Margaret
1986–1988 47ft Watson-class ON 971 Joseph Soar (Civil Service No.34)
1988–1993 Solent-class ON 1020 48-015 Hugh William, Viscount Gough
1993–1995 Waveney-class ON 1034 44-013 Thomas James King
1995–2008 Trent-class ON 1207 14-09 Sir Ronald Pechell, Bt
2008–present Trent-class ON 1266 14-35 John Neville Taylor

Inshore lifeboats[edit]

Dates in service Class Op. No. Name
1968–1983 D-class (RFD PB16) D-169 unnamed
1983–1989 D-class (Zodiac III) D-292 Castle House
1989–1999 D-class (EA16) D-397 Banks' Staff III
1999–2009 D-class (EA16) D-544 The Hastings
2009–present D-class (IB1) D-708 Jimmy Miff

Station honours[edit]

At Dunbar lifeboat station the following awards have been made:

  • Framed Letters of Thanks 5
  • Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum 2
  • Bronze Medal 1
  • Silver Medal 4

Flanking stations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.rnli.org.uk/wcm/system/pages/downloadfile.aspx?filename=/assets/media/images/Rcrowther_Media/2009/8f675816-bb1f-405d-b47a-2666fe2e0a6b.doc RNLI official report on service
  2. ^ Leach, Nicholas (1999). For Those in Peril: The Lifeboat Service of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Station by Station. Kettering: Silver Link. p. 204. ISBN 1-85794-129-2.

External links[edit]