DUNBAR lifeboat volunteers braved appealing conditions in two false alarms last week. In the first shout it took the all weather RNLI lifeboat half an hour to cover just thee miles battling winds gusting to storm force 10 and ten metre waves.
Normally the boat travels about five times faster. The RNLI volunteers had been asked by coastguards to investigate reports of a person clinging to an upturned hull in ferocious seas off the Fife coast. They were stood down when it was discovered to be a section of road barriers.
Just minutes after returning to their Torness berth the crew was paged again. This time to go to the aid of a wind surfer on distress near Edinburgh. The drama was happening off the Silver Knowe’s area - outside Dunbar’s normal patch.
The horrific wind and sea conditions meant smaller lifeboats nearer the scene were unable to venture out. After beginning a search for the surfer coastguards reported he had been able to make it back to shore unaided.
Dunbar RNLI coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “It’s not often conditions are as bad as today in these waters. The boat was being thrown all over the place by waves as high as a house. It was like being in a washing machine.
“Despite the first shout being a false alarm people should never be afraid of contacting the emergency services if they think they can see someone in trouble. In conditions like today every minute counts and we would much rather be there than too late.”