Successful St Abbs Lifeboat Gala Day

GalaWhat a great day we all had yesterday, thank you very much to every who came out to support us… It was by far the busiest Lifeboat Gala Day we’ve ever had!

To get the day to run as smoothly as it did takes a lot of work and a small army of volunteers. So we also need to say a huge thank you to all those who worked so hard in the run-up, and manned all the stalls on the day… you did a great job.

DSC_1412At four o’clock everyone walked down to the harbour to see a  demonstration of our new lifeboat.

Our new Lifeboat is being built

Thanks to the success of our Support St Abbs Lifeboat campaign, on 24th March 2016 we were able to announce that we have ordered our new lifeboat.

Lifeboat 2A rendering of our new lifeboat.

We’ve ordered a 900W Rigid Inflatable Boat from MST (Marine Specialised Technology Ltd) based in Liverpool. MST is the world’s leading provider of Rigid Inflatable and High Speed Workboats for military and professional use. They also build the RNLI’s E-Class Lifeboats.

“This is an ideal boat for the rescue work we are involved in at St Abbs and will increase the Search and Rescue capabilities along the Berwickshire Coast. We look forward to St Abbs coming back on station as an accredited SAR service…. The fundraising and hard work to achieve this continues on all fronts. Once we are in a position to do so, we will announce plans for delivery and launching of the service based around our traditional lifeboat day at the end of July.” – Alistair Crowe, Chairman of the St Abbs Lifeboat.

A lot of hard work went into selecting the right boat for the new St Abbs Lifeboat station. Back in January a small team visited MST, toured the factory and then took a run out on the Mersey in a demonstration craft. Our coxswains were very impressed with the performance and handling of the craft.

MST DemoOur Coxswain Paul Crowe takes the 900W demo craft out on the Mersey.

The make and model (MST 900W) of lifeboat we have ordered is also operated by Maryport Inshore Rescue Service ( Back in January 2016 our fellow lifeboatmen in Maryport kindly showed a small group of us around their boat and station.

MaryportThe “E-ON Spirit of Maryport” operated by the Maryport Inshore Rescue Services.

Lifeboat 4Technical details of the new lifeboat:

  • 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: 40 kts (to be confirmed)
  • 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

If you would like to make a donation to the new St Abbs Lifeboat you can do it now on our Just Giving page


Scotland’s First Minister Visits St Abbs Lifeboat Station

Members of St Abbs Lifeboat were very pleased to welcome an unexpected guest this afternoon (26th April 2016).

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was in the area and dropped in for a coffee and a chat. She knew all about our story and has been very impressed with the community spirit and our fundraising efforts to put a lifeboat back in our little village where it belongs.

She is now the proud owner of her own St Abbs Lifeboat hoodie which was very welcome considering the biting wind today.

We’d like to thank the First Minister for her visit and also our local MSPs and MP. Regardless of their political persuasion their support for St Abbs Lifeboat has been fantastic. The early day motion was raised in the House of Commons by our local MP Calum Kerr (SNP) and our local MSPs John Lamont (Conservative) and Paul Wheelhouse (SNP) are great supporters of the St Abbs Lifeboat.



Tunnocks Supporting a new St Abbs Lifeboat

St Abbs Lifeboat is delighted to announce that an approach has been received from leading Scottish Company Thomas Tunnock & Sons Ltd. “Tunnocks” involving a new Lifeboat at St Abbs Berwickshire.

It is expected that this will lead to the completion of Stage 1 of the Appeal launched in early Autumn 2015 and enable the resumption of Lifeboat operations at St Abbs in 2016.

The public appeal for a new Lifeboat at St Abbs has already got off to a flying start and the campaign will remain in full swing with a Stage 2 objective of raising a further £250k to provide long term financial support for the St Abbs lifeboat station.

In announcing the approach from Tunnocks Alistair Crowe the Lifeboat Appeal Chairman said:

“This is a highly significant development and the emergence of Tunnocks as a major donor has unanimous support from the Community of St Abbs. On behalf of the St Abbs Community I would like to express my sincere gratitude not only to Tunnocks, but also to all our other donations both big and small.

We look forward to becoming an operational Lifeboat Station at St Abbs again as soon as arrangements can be put in place, which will include a new purpose built boat. There are details still to be agreed with Tunnocks, which will include the name of the new Lifeboat, and a further announcement will be made in due course.”

Over £60,000 has been raised – we’re making real progress

With your help and support over £60,000 has been raised since the start of our fundraising campaign.

[thermometer raised=63000 target=250000 height=300 align=right]

We have set up the committees needed to run the new St Abbs Lifeboat. We are working towards setting up “St Abbs Lifeboat” as a new independent charity and are currently operating as a project of the St Abbs Community Trust charity.

We are about to launch our new online shop and are working towards having a mobile shop up and running for next summer. We’ve created a range of Christmas Cards and other branded merchandise which we’ve been selling on a stall at the weekly Friday market in the Ebba Centre and Dunbar T-shirt shop has helped us create a range of “Support St Abbs Lifeboat” clothing.

WP_20151013_002The collection boxes arrive in the post.

We are in the process of placing over 75 collection boxes in local pubs, shops and other establishments. The cheeky calendar created by the St Abbs Market Traders is selling well after appearing in the national press. We held a very successful coffee morning and a darts competition and will be holding a Race Night on 20th November at 8pm in the Ebba Centre, St Abbs.

BSACEuan Gibson takes the main stage at the BSAC Conference.

After a very successful appearance on the main stage at the BSAC conference we will be attending the ScotSAC conference in Stirling next weekend.

We have received over £13,000 via our Just Giving site. Robin Hood Dive Club have held several successful events (thank you). We are receiving cheques from you nearly every day and poignantly we’ve been gifted money in people’s wills.

With your support we are making this happen… There will be a lifeboat back in St Abbs soon. If you’ve donated 20p or £25,000, bought a t-shirt, attended an event or helped out in any other way we’d like to thank you. Every penny has helped bring the day a lifeboat is based back in St Abbs closer.

If you would like to make a donation to the new St Abbs Lifeboat you can do it now on our Just Giving page:


Robin Hood Dive Club – Hold a Car Boot sale and raise £320

We like to say a big thank you to the Robin Hood Dive Club for holding a car boot sale in aid of the St Abbs Lifeboat. Their hard work raised £320 which will help to fund the new St Abbs Lifeboat.

Pirate Support
Robin Hood Dive Club have been fantastic supporters of our campaing to Save St Abbs Lifeboat right from the very start.

Thank you so much for your support, it means such a lot to the whole team.

If you would like to make a donation to the new St Abbs Lifeboat you can do it now on our Just Giving page:


Calendar On Sale Now – helping our crew get their kit back on

The St Abbs market traders have come together with the crew of the St Abbs Lifeboat to create a cheeky charity calendar for 2016.

Front CoverThe photographs were taken back in March 2015 before the RNLI announced their decision to close the St Abbs RNLI lifeboat station.

Crew Bare All
Now that the community has decided to setup a new St Abbs Lifeboat independent of the RNLI. The St Abbs Market Traders are pleased to announce that they’ll be donating all the money raised from the sale of the calendar to the new St Abbs Lifeboat.

“We hope you like the “cheeky” views of St. Abbs and please bear in mind that a lot of the pictures were taken in March so it wasn’t as warm as it may look!” – Sue Dewhurst, Model.

How to get a hold of your copy

The calendar is on sale at £7.50 in the following locations:

  • Rock House, St. Abbs
  • St Abbs Post Office
  • Waddell’s fishmonger, Eyemouth
  • O’Brien Imaging, Eyemouth
  • Cafe Questo, Eyemouth
  • At the St Abbs Market, held every friday at the Ebba Centre, St Abbs.

You can order the calendar while stocks last from our online shop. Click Here to Buy a Calendar.

We like to thank all the traders at St Abbs Market for their support.

You can find out more about the Weekly St Abbs Friday Market here:

If you would like to make a donation to the new St Abbs Lifeboat you can do it now on our Just Giving page:


We have begun to raise funds for a new St Abbs Lifeboat

The village Community of St Abbs, Berwickshire has now formally agreed to launch a funding appeal in order to operate an independent Lifeboat Station at St Abbs.

At a packed meeting held on September 13th 2015, all attending voted unanimously in favour of the project which has initially been named St Abbs Lifeboat.

St Abbs Community Trust is a registered charity no SCO22555 and St Abbs Lifeboat will initially operate under the auspices of the Community Trust to take advantage of existing charitable status so that fundraising can commence as soon as possible through our established a JustGiving page:

In parallel with this Appeal, Smiths Grant, Solicitors, Duns have generously offered to carry out the considerable legal work necessary to set up the new Charitable Trust, free of charge. This Trust would take over and operate the existing lifeboat station at St Abbs. Smiths Grant have already commenced work.

There is no shortage of suitable experienced prospective Trustees, but the timetable for establishing a lifeboat station is very dependent on a number of factors including discussions between the RNLI and St Abbs Harbour Trust, relating to the existing lease which has yet to be relinquished by the RNLI.

St Abbs Lifeboat will also immediately commence discussions with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to ensure future compliance with the MCA’s Rescue Boat Code.

The St Abbs Lifeboat campaign is now fully operational and its activities are currently being coordinated by Alistair Crowe and Euan Gibson, ably supported by a dedicated and committed team of local volunteers. Alistair Crowe latterly held the position of Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) during the RNLI years, and has 50 years of experience and service to the Institute. His family along with other St Abbs and local families have been the backbone of the St Abbs Lifeboat for generations.

Euan Gibson recently coordinated the highly visible campaign to save the station. The re-establishment of St Abbs Lifeboat is not only a logical extension to this it is also a direct reflection of the massive support received during that campaign.

In announcing the launch of the funding Appeal today, Alistair Crowe said:

“We are delighted to have been able to launch this independent appeal so quickly. Our job as a lifeboat crew is to continue to save lives on this coast. A lifeboat at St Abbs is not a luxury it is an essential public safety requirement given the growth in leisure activities and the natural geography of the coastline. For anyone in trouble at sea it is not about the flag on the boat, it is all about the skill and knowledge of the crew. This is a dramatic and treacherous stretch of coast on a big arc at the southern approach to the Firth of Forth. To a seafarer that means it is exposed to weather and tides from the West all the way round to the South. The combined effect of tides and weather round any exposed headland are potentially dangerous, and St Abbs Head is no different.

The area has been one of the top UK dive sites for decades, and there is a lot of growth now from sea kayakers, surfers and sea anglers as well. Plus we have seen an increase over the last few years in local fishing boats operating out of St Abbs Harbour. The track record of St Abbs Lifeboat station and the commitment of its volunteers over its 104 year history speaks for itself. We feel responsible for everyone who uses the sea around our village and we want to be able to keep on doing what we’ve been doing for generations and keep the lifeboat running. We have a very detailed record of much of this history, and have plans to place some of this in the public domain.”

Commenting further, Euan Gibson said:

“The fact that St Abbs has one of the most professional crews in the UK is a long established fact.

That same spirit exists throughout the village as the Sea and Land at St Abbs are intrinsically linked. We have also been quite taken aback and humbled by the widespread support we received during the campaign. Our petition to the RNLI had over 13,000 signatures from both within the UK and from over 40 countries all over the World. The campaign was also supported by the Scottish and British Sub Aqua Clubs among others.

We are delighted today to announce the commencement of fundraising both online and through established channels. We hope that anyone who supports the work of volunteer lifeboat crews will give us their support.

In terms of application of the Appeal proceeds, in outline I can tell you that we currently estimate that approximately £250,000 should be allocated to the boat and related crew and medical equipment, and that a further £250,000 should be raised initially towards liquid funds. The appeal will also remain open for ad hoc and regular subscription in keeping with charitable practice for lifeboats in the UK.

We will maintain a flexible stance towards funding and plan to make full use of modern technology, social media etc. to ensure that we have as wide a base of support as possible. The lifeboat is there for anyone who needs it and we welcome any donation, large or small.”

In closing Alistair Crowe added

“We hope the Public will support the Appeal for an independent lifeboat at St Abbs. The DNA of any lifeboat service anywhere in the World is the crews, both men and women, who volunteer to go out the boats.

We are extremely proud as a village to have served under the RNLI for 104 years. They may have left, but our work continues as it the sea which is both master and mistress round here not any particular flag.

In the UK many services rely entirely on public donations and we hope you will support us.”

You can help us right now by making a donation online.


St Abbs Lifeboat – Going independent

So tommorrow at 9am the St Abbs RNLI Lifeboat Station will close. However this is not the end of the campaign to “Save St Abbs Lifeboat” we’re now looking at setting up our own Independant Lifeboat.

While people often associate lifeboats with the RNLI. They are not resonsible for operating all the lifeboats within the Brisith Isles. There are at least 70 independant lifeboats operating throughout Britain and Ireland.  And we hope to join that list. We’re still at the early stages of planning, but we’ll keep you upto date with our progress.

Press Release (for immediate release)

The village of St. Abbs, Berwickshire announces that detailed proposals are now being considered for the future operation of the St. Abbs Lifeboat Station independently of the RNLI.

The St Abbs Lifeboat Station was opened in 1911 following heavy loss of life from the wreck of the Alfred Erlandsen on the Ebb Carr reef in 1907. This also followed one of the worst maritime disasters in the British Isles in 1881 when the lives of 189 fishermen were lost, principally from the villages of St. Abbs, Eyemouth and Burnmouth

St Abbs lifeboat station has an illustrious record of service having saved over 230 lives throughout its 104 year history.

The decision to look at going independent follows a decision by the RNLI to declare St Abbs non-operational from Tuesday 8th September at 09.00

In announcing the decision the St Abbs Lifeboat campaign organiser Euan Gibson said today:

“St Abbs has a 104 year association with the RNLI and we are naturally sad that this should come to an end.

However the fact remains that we believe there is a major divergence of views between ourselves and the RNLI over the safety issues which affect this coast.
St Abbs has been supported in its judgement by local medical services, The National Trust for Scotland (which owns the St Abbs Head Nature Reserve), The British Sub Aqua Club, The Scottish Sub Aqua Club, 46 MPs who signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, 13,500 members of the Public who signed the petition, not to mention the thousands of RNLI supporters who have contacted us.

Lifeboat Crews are volunteers, many being drawn from fishing communities, the merchant navy and many other walks of life. In the case of St Abbs local knowledge is of particular importance. In 2011 this was acknowledged through an RNLI Bronze Medal award of bravery for a rescue mission that would not have been possible without local knowledge.

In recent years St Abbs has bucked the trend, and seen an increase in fishing boats with leisure use increasing also. Many rescues are now associated with leisure activities such as scuba diving, sea kayaking, surfing, cliff walking, sea angling etc.
If anything the need for the right boat at St Abbs has increased rather than the reverse.

The decision by RNLI to replace St Abbs with a smaller and less capable boat at Eyemouth is we believe an error of judgement, based on flawed data.

For this reason and in the public interest we are announcing today that detailed planning is under way to raise funds for an entirely independent lifeboat station at St. Abbs.

This will be carried out very much in the spirit of the original Jane Hay campaign to have a lifeboat at St. Abbs – where it is needed most.

As part of our plans our advisers are already in discussion with RNLI regarding the existing lifeboat house and lifesaving equipment. The lifeboat house and its fittings and fixtures belong to the St Abbs Harbour Trustees.

In order to operate independently we will need to launch an independent appeal for funds.

We ask that our supporters remain patient while we take advice, and discuss the best way of moving this project forward.

“RNLI urged to reverse plan to close Scottish lifeboat station” article in the Financial Times

The Financial Times has published an article today (21st August 2015) by journalist Emily Cadman, titled “RNLI urged to reverse plan to close Scottish lifeboat station”.

Ewan Gibson, a local resident leading the campaign to save the lifeboat, says there is “bewilderment, real genuine anger . . . a sense of betrayal” at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s decision to shut the station. – Words of Euan Gibson quoted from the article.

You can read the article here: