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Davie Tait
29th March 2013, 15:59
http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-news/scottish/10128-new-lifeboat-station-planned.html

THE RNLI has launched a recruitment drive to find volunteers wanting to establish a new inshore lifeboat station in Scotland.

The charity is keen to start a trial station at Stonehaven to fill the gap created when the Maritime Rescue Institute (MRI) lost its boats during a storm in December.

The MRI, also a charity, suffered damage to premises at Stonehaven harbour and in February it announced that it would close.

This ended a period of more than 30 years during which the MRI volunteers carried out more than 500 rescues along a 25-mile stretch of coastline, going up to 50 miles offshore.

The RNLI has all-weather lifeboats based at Montrose and Aberdeen lifeboat stations which are currently overseeing that coastline and will be called upon to save lives at sea.

The charity is investigating the possibility of setting up an inshore lifeboat station, run by volunteers, which could start as early as July.

However, the RNLI needs to ensure that there are enough volunteers within the local community who are willing to undergo training to be crew, and that there are other people who would enjoy undertaking a shore-based role.

The charity is holding a Public Meeting on Thursday 4 April at 7pm at St James's Church Hall in Stonehaven where Paul Jennings, the RNLI's Divisional Operations Manager for the area, will unveil the new station plans.

Paul said, "We are very encouraged indeed with early expressions of interest from people who would like to be crew. Former MRI crew are interested in our plans, so too is a former RNLI crewman.

"We do need a large pool of people to be crew members and there are also several station-based roles such as a Lifeboat Operations Manager."

The charity's Trustees will need to approve the trial station and they will discuss the proposals on 10 April.

The boat likely to be put on station would come from the Atlantic class, which is the top-of-the-range for the RNLI's inshore boats. The boat can be at sea for up to 2.5hours, has a top speed of 35 knots and requires a crew of three or four volunteers.

The RNLI has already had a station on two occasions at Stonehaven. The charity operated there from 1867 to 1934, and from 1967 to 1984, launching 97 times and rescuing 72 people.