Category Archives: Our Campaign

News about what is happening with the Campaign.

Support St Abbs Lifeboat by buying a T-Shirt or Hoodie

You can purchase one of our “Support St Abbs Lifeboat” t-shirts, hoodies or zippies directly from St Abbs Lifeboat Shop or by purchasing online from Dunbar T-Shirt Shop.


The “Support St Abbs Lifeboat” Adult T-Shirt costs £15.00 and is available in the following sizes:
Men’s sizes: (Straight cut) S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL
Ladies’ size: (Scoop neck), XS,  S, M, L, XL, XXL

Kids T-shirts cost £12.00 and are available in the following ages:
1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-11, 12-13

Support St Abbs Lifeboat T-Shirts

Hoodies & Zippies

Hoodies and zippies are available in Navy or Grey and are offered in the following unisex sizes:
XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Both styles cost £40.00

Order your clothing online now
Please note that Dunbar T-Shirt Shop prices quoted include delivery.


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.

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:


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.

Paul Boissier – We’re travelling the 450 miles to deliver the “Save St Abbs Lifeboat” petition to you personally

The petition will be hand-delivered to the RNLI HQ in Poole next Tuesday 1st September.

The sheer numbers of people who are deeply concerned about this proposed closure demands that it goes directly to the executives of the RNLI who have made this flawed, heavily criticised and dangerous decision.

You still have time to sign the online petition.

The paper petitions numbering approximately 5,300 plus a cover sheet representing the online signatures of approximately 7,200 (and climbing) will be handed over by two members of St Abbs lifeboat crew, and one lifeboat committee member.

12,500 people is a huge number and we thank each and every one of you. We have also had wonderful backing from organisations and individuals like the National Trust for Scotland, the Scottish Sub Aqua Club The British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) the Scottish Minister for Community safety, our local MP and MSPs, 46 MPs who signed the Early Day Motion in the Commons and Scottish Borders Council…. all have expressed deep concern about this closure.

That is without mentioning the thousands of RNLI contributors and supporters who have contacted us individually expressing their concern…. a phrase we have seen regularly is “I pay in to the RNLI to help keep stations open, not to see them shut”.

The few highly-paid executives making this decision must listen to the people who make the charitable donations from which they draw their salaries, if they won’t listen to them, then who to?

The RNLI only exists due to the generosity of the British public, and they should remember who provides the money that pays their wages.

The unpaid volunteer crews around the UK need their support, and decisions like this undermine the extraordinary hard work the amazing crews put in on a daily basis.

Thank you to everyone from all round the UK and beyond for your continued support.

St Abbs Lifeboat Crew

Hundreds Join Protest March

JohnlamontThank you to everyone who joined the protest march on 4th July 2015. All together there were about 300 people who joined the march including community safety minister and MSP Paul Wheelhouse, MSP John Lamont and MP Calum Kerr.

Thanks also to Micheal Wilson for leading the march playing the pipes.

ITV Reporter, Jenny Longden,  was there to report on the day. You can watch her report here:

The National Newpaper, Berwickshire News and BBC also reported the march.

Our petition heads towards 4000 signatures

St Abbs is a small community, but as the number of signatures to our online petition edges towards 4000 it is apparent that we have the support of people from all over the country.

We’d like to thank you if you have already signed the petition. And if you’ve not we hope that the arguments we present here will convince you that we must “Save St Abbs Lifeboat”.

Sign the Online Petition
Here is the link to the online petition to the Chief Executive of the RNLI to Keep the St Abbs Lifeboat Station Open.


Our campaign T-Shirts are proving popular

Wow, we could never have believed they’d be so popular! In just a few weeks we’ve had hundreds of orders of our fantastic T-Shirts which not only raise awareness of our cause, but also contibute to our campaign funds.

Rachel Crowe, at Rock House Dive Centre is doing a fantastic job co-ordinating everything.

The “Save St Abbs Lifeboat” T-Shirts cost £10 each (with £3.60 of this going towards the campaign fund) and are avaliable in the following sizes:

Kids’ sizes: (in age groups) 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-11, 12-13
Men’s sizes: (Straight cut) S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL.
Ladies’ size: (Scoop neck), 8, 10, 12, 14, 16. (Ladies sizes are designed to be worn tight.)

Buy the T-Shirt and Wear it with Pride
You can purchase one of our “Save St Abbs Lifeboat” T-shirts and wear it help spread word of our campaign. You can get your T-shirt by:

  • Ordering and Collecting from St Abbs  –  Placing an order at either the St Abbs Visitor Centre or at Rock House Dive Centre (To order please call Rachel Crowe on 07823 449 100). When the t-shirt is ready you will need to collect it in person. They cost £10 each with £3.60 going towards the campaign fund.
  • Order Online (includes cost of delivery) – Thanks to Dunbar T-Shirt Shop you can now buy a t-shirt online. They cost £13 each with £3.60 going towards the campaign fund. This includes the price of delivery.  Click Here to order your T-shirt online.

Finally a special thanks must go to our T-Shirt suppliers. Steven, Gavin, Natalie and Margaret at the Dunbar T-Shirt Shop have done a fantastic job keeping up with demand. They are also producing these T-Shirts at cost price which means we can spread the word about our campaign and make a little money on each sale to support other aspects of our campaign.

Save St Abbs Lifeboat – The Campaign is Launched

Based on a coastal review undertaken without local consultation, the RNLI executive proposes to close the St Abbs Lifeboat Station.

The St Abbs Lifeboat  is based in the heart of one of the UK’s premier diving sites, the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve. As well as divers, it also safeguards our inshore fishermen, our anglers, our kayakers, our surfers, our sailors and anyone who works or plays along the Berwickshire Coast.

The RNLI executive plans to replace the B-Class (Atlantic 75) lifeboat at St Abbs with a slower and less capable D-Class lifeboat based at Eyemouth.

As inshore rescue is highly dependent on response times, and taking into account the tidal race around St Abbs Head the D-Class will be a liability, which will endanger the crew and result in needless fatalities.

The life saving capabilites of the St Abbs lifeboat were once again proved on the 30th May 2015. The crew responded to a diver in distress and, within minutes and had rescued her and returned her to the station for medical attention. This was all acheived before a D-Class from Eyemouth could even have been onsite.

So we are campaigning for the St Abbs Lifeboat Station to remain a part of the RNLI family. We hope you’ll get involved and help us Save St Abbs Lifeboat and ultimately save peoples lives too.