We just had a fantastic weekend (13-14 January 2018) of medical exercises under the knowledgeable and watchful eye of Paul Savage OBE. Paul is Chairman of UKSAR Medical Group and MD of Saviour Medical Ltd, and for 6 years was Clinical Lead and Clinical Operations Manager for the RNLI. He also devised the medical check cards and the Saviour stretcher that our crew use.
Paul now concentrates his medical teaching from his own company, but still finds time to volunteer as a member of Tower Lifeboat Station on the Thames, the busiest lifeboat station in the UK.
Paul agreed to come to St Abbs for the weekend to put our crew through their paces, seeing first hand what they have learned and passing on tips and observations based on his vast experience of lifeboat medicine and volunteering for other SAR organisations including the Coastguard.
Over the course of the 2 days Paul devised various casualty scenarios based around the incidents we normally encounter here.
During the weekend our crew had to deal with a mother and daughter who had fallen on rocks and badly injured themselves, a cardiac arrest on the Harbour and a creel fisherman with a traumatic chest injury. They also had to treat and extract a couple of walkers who had fallen and become wedged in rocks, sustaining major head trauma and multiple fractures in the process.
He also threw in a couple of “red herrings” to test our crew and keep them on their toes, for example a diver showing symptoms which turned out to be hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which is not the usual diver-related incident we would normally deal with.
On Saturday evening Paul hosted a hugely informative lecture on drowning and hypothermia, to which we also invited our local Coastguard teams.
Our crew acquitted themselves very well over a long and testing weekend, and the regular medical exercises that Fiona, our doctor does, really showed their worth.
We would like to thank Paul of course, but also the “casualties” who gave up their weekends to help make the scenarios as realistic as possible.
Over the last year we have had the pleasure of photographer, Steve Cox’s company on numerous occasions. Even though Steve suffers from sea sickness he has came out with us on training sessions and has even taken part in a man-over board drill.
The results of all Steve’s hard work and suffering to create a photographic record of our crew, has now been published.
The book, entitled “St Abbs Lifeboat – The Crew” illustrates our crew both on and off the water in the first year of operation of our independent lifeboat.
Steve was keen to also show our crew’s lives away from the harbour, so there are portraits of Jim Wilson with his racing pigeons and Phil Rutherford hunting for treasure with his metal detector.
We were called out today to search for a missing diver.
The Thomas Tunnock put to sea at approximately 11:50am and joined dive charter boats searching for the missing diver who had become separated from his buddy on the North West side of St Abbs Head.
He was quickly located on a rocky foreshore just west of Petticowick. Two members of our crew swam in to ascertain his condition. He was exhausted and dehydrated but didn’t require medical attention. With a Coastguard shore team standing by if needed, the diver regained enough strength after a bottle of water and a rest for our two crewmen to help him walk along the shoreline to Petticowick. He was transferred to the Eyemouth Lifeboat who returned him to St Abbs Harbour.
In the meantime, our remaining crew were busy dealing with a shore-based emergency after an elderly lady fell on the harbour and sustained a head injury. The Scottish Ambulance Service was called and she received further attention in the lifeboat station from their crew. She has been taken to hospital as a precaution but is expected to be fine.
Another busy day, and a great example of multi-agency teamwork…
We are delighted to announce that St Abbs Lifeboat has been awarded the Eastern Borders Development Association award for 2016.
Alistair Crowe accepts the award from Lord Lietenant Jeanna Swan.
“The Eastern Borders Development Association (EBDA) Award is made annually by the Trustees to a person or organisation who or which, through skill or effort, has made an outstanding contribution in social, economic or environmental fields in the past 12 months”
At a special 40th anniversary reception on the 6th March 2017, five members of our committee were presented with the award by the Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire Jeanna Swan, in front of a specially invited audience which included previous award winners, local dignitaries and councillors from both the Scottish Borders and Northumberland County councils.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our local Councillor Jim Fullarton for our nomination, and also EBDA and its Trustees for awarding us this prestigious prize.
The St Abbs Lifeboat “Thomas Tunnock” was launched this morning (9 Feburary 2017) at 9:15am to go to the assistance of the Eyemouth based trawler “Our Catherine, BRD 77” which was already under tow by the Eyemouth RNLI All Weather Lifeboat.
Derek Anderson’s video of Eyemouth Lifeboat, Our Catherine and the St Abbs Lifeboat “Thomas Tunnock” entering Eyemouth Harbour.
“Our Catherine” had lost drive to her propellor a mile to the south east of Eyemouth Harbour. St Abbs Lifeboat took position astern of the trawler to act as a brake, and all three boats safely entered Eyemouth Harbour.
Our Catherine, BRD 77 bearthed in Eyemouth Harbour
St Abbs Lifeboat then returned to the station, was refuelled and made ready for service.
If you see an emergency at sea you should dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.
The St Abbs Lifeboat “Thomas Tunnock” was launched at approximately 1.30pm on the 6 Feburary 2017 to go to the assistance of the Eyemouth based trawler “Boy Andrew, LH316” which had fouled her propellor.
Boy Andrew, LH 316 bearthed in Eyemouth Harbour
After fouling her propellor the skipper of the Boy Andrew directly requested the assistance of St Abbs Lifeboat. While the St Abbs Lifeboat is not yet a declared facility, we are able to activiate the paging system locally to shout the crew out to a call.
In deteriorating sea conditions and freshening winds the stricken trawler was taken under tow by fellow Eyemouth based trawler “Our Catherine, BRD 77” with the St Abbs Lifeboat acting as the brake vessel.
The small flotilla brought the stricken trawler and her crew safely back to her berth in Eyemouth harbour.
Declared Facility Status
St Abbs Lifeboat is currently working with H.M. Coastguard to achieve “Declared Facility Status”. This means that we will become an officially recognised part of the UK’s maritime search and rescue emergency services. And we will be tasked by the Coastguard to respond to any call outs in our area.
In this case the skipper of the trawler had contact details for a member of our team. However if you see an emergency at sea you should dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.
Saturday 17 September 2016 will be a day long remembered in St Abbs. It was the day that we officially named our new lifeboat the “Thomas Tunnock”.
After a lot or hard work and the support of so many the big day was finally here. The weather couldn’t have been better and thousands of you came to see the lifeboat named.
Boyd Tunnock officially named our lifeboat the “Thomas Tunnock”, in honour of his late brother and grandfather. As a small thank you to the Tunnock family we were honoured to present them with a commerative glass plate, kindly created for us by local artist Julia Linstead, with the inscription:
“St Abbs Lifeboat – ‘Thomas Tunnock’. Present to the Tunnock Family by a Grateful Community – 17th September 2017″
Scotland’s First minister also attended the launch and had these kind words to say:
Our new lifeboat the “Thomas Tunnock” will be officially named and launched on Saturday 17th September 2016 at St Abbs Harbour. We would like to invite you come along and help us celebrate. The event starts at midday and the launch ceremony is at 2:30pm.
To ensure that every penny you have donated is spent on providing a life-saving service, we approached several locally based companies to sponsor our Launch Day event. Our grateful thanks therefore go to the following :
On launch day access to the village will be restricted, with a one way system in place around the village. Additional car parking will be provided at Northfield farm, with a shuttle bus running between Coldingham, Northfield and St Abbs during the course of the day.
With your help we're making it happen – Saving Lives on the Berwickshire Coast.