'RNLI must launch lifeboat rescue'

PORTISHEAD'S voluntary lifeboat service should be taken over by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) - according to town leaders. The call comes at the same time Portishead and North Weston Town Council agreed a £4,000 grant to the trust in it

PORTISHEAD'S voluntary lifeboat service should be taken over by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) - according to town leaders.The call comes at the same time Portishead and North Weston Town Council agreed a £4,000 grant to the trust in its budgets for the next two years.But long standing Portishead councillor Arthur Terry says, with the expansion of the town, the RNLI should now take over the service. Currently the lifeboat trust, which launched in 1995, works in tandem with the coastguard to attend to sailors in trouble in the channel.Councillor Terry said: "With the growing size of Portishead and the increased boating activities, it is time the RNLI took over lifeboat provision in the channel."Weston-super-Mare has its own RNLI base and as Portishead is the second largest town in North Somerset, I think it should get the same."Cllr Terry said if the national charity did take over responsibility for covering the channel, it would attract more funding opportunities for the trust.He added: "The trust is currently looking for a site and trying to raise funds for a new boat house and other facilities."I know it struggles each year to raise enough money to maintain the service and by coming under the umbrella of the RNLI it would open up more avenues for funding and raise its profile among the public."The trust, which is run by volunteers, was set up after the Portishead Yacht and Sailing Club marine rescue service folded after patrolling the channel for 25 years.Supporters have to raise around £30,000 a year to keep the service afloat and are currently looking to build a purpose-built lifeboat station along the coast.Portishead Lifeboat Trust Dave Herbert said the trust would continue to patrol the channel as long as funding could be raised.RNLI divisional inspector for the south, Simon Pryce, said: "As a charity that provides 24-hour marine search and rescue around the coast of the UK and Ireland, the RNLI has great respect for the volunteers of Portishead Lifeboat who do such good work alongside our volunteers."The RNLI charity's own lifeboat distribution is determined by the requirement to provide a fast, reliable response to those in difficulties along our coastlines."The search and rescue cover which is provided by our fleet is continuously reviewed. "The coast review process ensures that the location of the stations and the mix of lifeboats operated from them are best suited to the demand placed upon them."The stretch of coastline between St Agnes and Portishead is due to be reviewed in 2008.


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