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Dunbar RNLI is pleased to announce: "Two of our volunteer crewmembers have been passed out as helms on the inshore lifeboat (ILB). 

Ross McMullen and Chris Woods were put through their paces last week on various scenarios with an assessor and crew and were tested on their knowledge and skills. They join long-standing volunteers Alan Blair and Gordon Kirkham as helms for the ILB. 

Ross, 35, has been a volunteer for 18 years and wanted to join after his brother Paul and uncle David Koch both served on the crew. He is also currently a tractor driver on the ILB and was once part of the Scottish National Flood Rescue team. He said: “I joined as a teenager with the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and stayed ever since. There have been a few shouts in that time but one that always sticks out was when we were tasked to tow a 55ft sperm whale off the beach at Canty Bay. I was attaching the two ropes when I slipped and fell onto the whale – not an experience you forget in a hurry!” Currently a driving instructor in a career that has seen him serve with the police for 12 years and work as an assistant emergency preparedness engineer at Torness Power Station, Ross said: “The assessment was tough but it’s good we were both passed out.”

Chris, 40, who has been on the crew since 2015, was inspired to become a volunteer after eight years with the merchant navy left him wanting to continue getting back out to sea. He also wanted to give something back to the Dunbar community. Chris, regional manager (Scotland) for EDF Renewables, has made a big impact on the crew since joining, becoming a mechanic on the all-weather lifeboat (ALB), tractor driver for the ILB and was the recipient of the Crewmember of the Year award three times. His most memorable shout was during the Lifeboat Fete three years ago. He said: “I was in the middle of giving people a tour of the ALB when the pagers went off. There were 30 people on board and we had to get them all off safely and as quickly as we could. Many of them thought we were joking!”

Ross and Chris paid thanks to the existing helms and crew for their help in training and support. Dunbar coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “Chris and Ross have worked hard in a year when it has not been easy to train. They have had to do a lot online as well as going afloat and their dedication has paid off. It’s important for the station to have more cover for our assets, so we want to thank them both for their hard work.”

Our photo shows Ross (left) and Chris (right) with the ILB. 

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