ONSO: Meet Cullercoats Crew Member – Curtis Dunn

We’re continuing our Original North Sea Outfitters blog series profiling lifeboat crew members, where we met Curtis Dunn from the Cullercoats station.

May 15th 2017
Next up in our three part Original North Sea Outfitters series with lifeboat crew members, we caught up with Cullercoats' very own Curtis Dunn, to discuss most memorable day at the coast, and to find out why the North Sea is so important to him…

What is your favourite British coastal location and why?
Cullercoats - it’s a small place on the North East coast, where I grew up and still live. It’s a quiet, peaceful place on the coast, a nice little bay and a quirky village, with its own unique qualities.
What was your most memorable day at the coast?
My first service call with the lifeboat, four years ago. It was April time, a yacht had run aground on Tynemouth Longsands. I’d waited a long time for that first service call. I’d wanted to be on the lifeboat crew since I was about ten years old. I finally joined the crew when I was 17 and I was given my pager, it was about a four week wait before I got called out on my first job. 
Why is the North Sea important to you? Tell us about the part it plays in your life. 
It’s where I grew up. I’ve always been in or on the sea, doing different things. It’s where I work and where I play, and I now have my role at the lifeboat station too. 
 Curtis wore our Barbour Hilton Wax Jacket.
What do you think about the Lifeboat Station Project? What was it like being photographed by Jack?
The project is absolutely amazing, it’s just incredible and will form a huge piece of RNLI history. Seeing the images of lifeboat crew captured on a piece of glass rather than on a bit of paper – that’s something that will last forever. Being photographed was great, though it was quite nerve-wracking as I didn’t want to move and spoil it! 
What drew you to become a lifeboat crew member and how long have you been doing it for?
I’ve been an RNLI volunteer crew member for four years. Growing up in Cullercoats, there were people who lived on our street who were on the crew, family friends, so I’d always known about it. And then as kids, we’d always be playing down on the beach near the station.
What do you do in your down time from being a crew member?
When I’m not working, I love to go kayaking and paddle-boarding!
How do you warm up after a journey out into the North Sea?
When we come back from a lifeboat shout, we’ll go back to the station for a cup of tea. If I’m at work, we have a log burner, so I’ll sit in front of the fire. 
 Curtis also wore our Barbour Brock Tailored Fit Shirt.
Are there any memorable rescues you have been involved in?
I remember the rescue of four kayakers off Tynemouth Piers, they’d been paddling out to the River Tyne and there was a heavy swell running. Two capsized then a third tried to help them and he capsized too.
It was a joint rescue with both of the Tynemouth lifeboats, the kayakers were well equipped but the conditions just made it impossible for them to get back in their kayaks. It’s always rewarding being part of the lifeboat crew, but especially when you pull someone out of the water. 
In case you missed our last Original North Sea Outfitters blog, we caught up with Tynemouth crew member, Ian Black, to discuss why the North Sea is important to him, and to find out what makes his station location special.