The RNLI’s proposal to close St Abbs lifeboat station at the end of this summer has been met with widespread anger and dismay by local fishermen and large numbers of sub-aqua divers from all parts of the UK who share the opinion that the move will “undoubtedly put lives at risk” reports David Linkie.

The 104 year old lifeboat station provides immediate local cover for the inshore waters off Abbs Head, where sea and tidal conditions frequently change in just a few minutes.

The rocky foreshore is fished daily by a small inshore creel boats from St Abbs harbour, which is regularly frequented by large numbers of leisure divers attracted by the array of underwater natural wildlife and scenery that can be viewed in crystal clear waters that are  widely regarded as being one of the leading dive locations in Britain.

Since the planned closure of St Abbs lifeboat station was announced by the RNLI earlier this month, nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition to retain the facility; https://www.change.org/p/rnli-keep-st-abbs-lifeboat-station-open
A large number of the supporters who signed the petition highlighted the danger of delayed response times to emergency call-outs.

Over the years, St Abbs lifeboat crews have saved 226 lives during which time volunteer crew members have been awarded one bronze and five silver medals for gallantry.
The most recent medal service was in 2011, when helmsman Darren Crowe was awarded the bronze medal after he swam into a cave and saved an angler who had fallen from rocks.

The RNLI intend to station a new D class lifeboat at Eyemouth to replace the St Abbs B class lifeboat Dorothy and Katherine Barr II, which will join the RNLI’s relief fleet.

Angus Skene, the former deputy launching authority for St Abbs station has been a volunteer with the RNLI for 35 years, said, “Lives will definitely be lost as a result of this closure. St Abbs is inundated with divers in the harbour over summer, and the boat from Eyemouth could take up to 15 minutes to get here if the weather is bad.

“A lot of our crew already have their own fishing boats, and we’ve promised to use them to continue to save people who come into difficulty in the harbour.

“Our boys know the area well and will be able to respond a lot quicker than the boat coming from two miles away.  People are going to die but we will do the best we can.”
George Rawlinson, RNLI operations director, said, “I don’t agree that the closure will put lives at risk. We have looked at the incidents and the potential for problems very carefully indeed. Our lifeboats at Eyemouth are very capable and the inshore lifeboat, coupled with an all-weather lifeboat there, will provide a very good service.

“The RNLI does not take lightly any decision to close a lifeboat station and we understand that this will be disappointing for our crew, supporters and the community.
“On behalf of everyone at the RNLI I would like to thank the volunteers for their dedication and commitment to saving lives at sea.”

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The RNLI’s proposal to close St Abbs lifeboat station at the end of this summer has been met with widespread anger and dismay by local fishermen and large numbers of sub-aqua divers from all parts of the UK who share the opinion that the move will “undoubtedly put lives at risk” reports David Linkie. The 104 year old lifeboat station provides immediate local cover for the inshore waters off Abbs Head, where sea and tidal conditions frequently change in just a few minutes. The rocky foreshore is fished daily by a small inshore creel boats from St Abbs harbour, which is regularly frequented by large numbers of leisure divers attracted by the array of underwater natural wildlife and scenery that can be viewed in crystal clear waters that are  widely regarded as being one of the leading dive locations in Britain. Since the planned closure of St Abbs lifeboat station was announced by the RNLI earlier this month, nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition to retain the facility; https://www.change.org/p/rnli-keep-st-abbs-lifeboat-station-open A large number of the supporters who signed the petition highlighted the danger of delayed response times to emergency call-outs. Over the years, St Abbs lifeboat crews have saved 226 lives during which time volunteer crew members have been awarded one bronze and five silver medals for gallantry. The most recent medal service was in 2011, when helmsman Darren Crowe was awarded the bronze medal after he swam into a cave and saved an angler who had fallen from rocks. The RNLI intend to station a new D class lifeboat at Eyemouth to replace the St Abbs B class lifeboat Dorothy and Katherine Barr II, which will join the RNLI’s relief fleet. Angus Skene, the former deputy launching authority for St Abbs station has been a volunteer with the RNLI for 35 years, said, “Lives will definitely be lost as a result of this closure. St Abbs is inundated with divers in the harbour over summer, and the boat from Eyemouth could take up to 15 minutes to get here if the weather is bad. “A lot of our crew already have their own fishing boats, and we’ve promised to use them to continue to save people who come into difficulty in the harbour. “Our boys know the area well and will be able to respond a lot quicker than the boat coming from two miles away.  People are going to die but we will do the best we can.” George Rawlinson, RNLI operations director, said, “I don’t agree that the closure will put lives at risk. We have looked at the incidents and the potential for problems very carefully indeed. Our lifeboats at Eyemouth are very capable and the inshore lifeboat, coupled with an all-weather lifeboat there, will provide a very good service. “The RNLI does not take lightly any decision to close a lifeboat station and we understand that this will be disappointing for our crew, supporters and the community. “On behalf of everyone at the RNLI I would like to thank the volunteers for their dedication and commitment to saving lives at sea.”

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