St Abbs Lifeboat Station

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St Abbs Lifeboat
St Abbs Lifeboat and St Abbs Lifeboat Station.jpg
St Abbs Lifeboat Thomas Tunnock and St Abbs Lifeboat Station
St Abbs Lifeboat Station is located in Scotland
St Abbs Lifeboat Station
St Abbs, Berwickshire
General information
TypeIndependent Lifeboat Station
LocationMiddle Pier, St Abbs, Berwickshire, Scotland, UK
CountryScotland, UK
Coordinates55°53′56″N 2°07′43″W / 55.8989°N 2.1287°W / 55.8989; -2.1287Coordinates: 55°53′56″N 2°07′43″W / 55.8989°N 2.1287°W / 55.8989; -2.1287
OwnerSt Abbs Lifeboat

St Abbs Lifeboat is an independent marine-rescue facility in St Abbs, Berwickshire, Scotland.

Independent lifeboat[edit]

St Abbs Lifeboat Thomas Tunnock

St Abbs Lifeboat is run as an independent charity (SCIO) registered in Scotland (Charity Number SC046312). The charity operates an independent rescue service outside of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Thomas Tunnock & Sons Ltd, a Scottish company, has contributed £260,000 towards the purchase of a new lifeboat to be called Thomas Tunnock.[1]

The new St Abbs Lifeboat arrived at the station on 28 July 2016 and was officially named Thomas Tunnock during a naming ceremony on 17 September 2016. Thomas Tunnock is an 900W Rigid Inflatable Boat built by MST (Marine Specialised Technology Ltd) based in Liverpool. She has a maximum speed of 47 knots and is one of the fastest lifeboats in the UK.[2]

Specification of lifeboat[edit]

St Abbs Lifeboat - Thomas Tunnock
  • Name: Thomas Tunnock
  • Manufacturer: Marine Specialised Technology
  • Model: 900W
  • Crew: 4
  • Length LOA: 9 metres
  • Beam BOA: 3.05 metres
  • Beam internal: 1.95 metres
  • Draught: 0.7 metres or 1 metres to base of skegs at 100% fuel and 4 pax
  • Displacement approx.: 2600kg
  • Maximum speed: 47 kts
  • Fual capacity: 2 x 150 litres
  • Range approx.: 150 nautical miles (173 miles or 278 km)
  • Construction: Polyester Glass Reinforced Resin (GPR) construction using GRP protected marine ply under deck structure.
  • Engines: Twin OBM Mercury Optimax 200 HP units modified with PIRS (Post Immersion Restart System)
  • Survivor capacity: 12

History as an RNLI Lifeboat Station[edit]

A campaign to found a lifeboat station in the port was started after the sinking of the S.S. Alfred Erlandsen and the loss of crew in 1907 on rocks, known as the Ebb Carrs, near the shore of the village. Lifeboats were launched from Dunbar Lifeboat Station and Eyemouth but took too long to reach the wreck and all 17 crew members were lost.[3]

In 1911 the station was established by the RNLI[4] with the formation of a slipway, and the campaign organiser Jane Hay was made secretary of the station in recognition of her effort. The boathouse, still in use today, was added later in 1915. The station's final all weather lifeboat was a 37-foot Oakley-class, on station from 1964 until 1974 when it was withdrawn having averaged only two launches per year and replaced by an inshore D-class lifeboat as the nearby Eyemouth Lifeboat Station had taken on a new fast Waveney-class boat. Since then the station has had a C-class, B-Class and housed the Dorothy and Katherine Barr II Atlantic 75.

Despite a 13,000 signature petition urging them to reconsider, the RNLI withdrew its lifeboat from the station in September 2015.[5] Following a 5-year study, the RNLI decided to replace St Abbs by supplementing the existing Trent-class lifeboat at Eyemouth, 2 miles away, with an additional D-class RIB.[5][6]

The station's crew received 4 Silver Medals of honour during its service with the RNLI.


Dates in service Class ON Op. No. Name Launches/saved
1911–1936 38ft Watson-class ON 603 Helen Smitton 27/37
1936–1949 Liverpool-class Single engine ON 792 Annie Ronald and Isabella Forrest 28/73
1949–1953 Liverpool-class Twin engine ON 872 J.B. Couper of Glasgow 4/1
1953–1964 Liverpool-class Twin engine ON 906 W. Ross MacArthur of Glasgow 32/13
1964–1974 37ft Oakley-class ON 974 37-07 Jane Hay 20/8
1974–1975 D-class (RFD PB16) D-110 Unnamed
1976–1978 D-class (Zodiac III) D-235 Unnamed
1979–1986 C-class C- Unnamed
1986–2001 Atlantic 21-class B-572 Dorothy and Katherine Barr
2001–2002 Atlantic 21-class B-579 Institute of London Underwriters
2002–2002 Atlantic 21-class B-568 Burton Brewer
2002–2015 Atlantic 75-class B-783 Dorothy and Katherine Barr II
2015 Atlantic 75-class B-770 The Boys Brigade
2016 - present MST 900W Thomas Tunnock

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "St Abbs lifeboat replacement to be commissioned by July". BBC News. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Teacakes toasted at St Abbs lifeboat official launch". Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  3. ^ Berwickshire News (10 October 2007). "The loss of the Alfred Erlandsen 100 years ago led to lifeboat station for St Abbs". Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  4. ^ "St Abbs lifeboat link ends after 104 years". BBC News. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  5. ^ a b "St Abbs RNLI lifeboat to be withdrawn despite campaign". BBC News. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  6. ^ Isla Reynolds (7 September 2015). "RNLI withdraws St Abbs inshore lifeboat from the Scottish coast". RNLI. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016.

External links[edit]