Lifeboat trust to be taken over by RNLI?

THE Portishead lifeboat could, in the future, be taken under the wing of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Members of the Portishead Lifeboat Trust have been looking at ways to upgrade facilities at their Sugar Loaf Bay station for some time, and they say adoption of the service by the RNLI could provide the ideal way forward for them.

Earlier this month, volunteers from the Portishead crew took part in beach-launching trials near Portishead Pier, working alongside members of the RNLI.

RNLI trustees have agreed, in principle, to pursue the adoption, but the charity first has to identify a suitable operations site and ensure the required shore facilities are in place. The area of beach in front of the old Masonic Lodge in Pier Road is one of the sites being looked at in the feasibility study.

Adrian Carey, RNLI divisional inspector for the South West, says the trials are the first of many steps that need to be followed before any adoption can take place.

He said: “The Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat is part of a chain of safety around the Severn Estuary. The volunteer crew in Portishead works in tandem with RNLI lifeboats at Burnham, Weston, Penarth and Barry Dock and it makes sense to bring them all into the RNLI.”

Portishead Lifeboat Trust spokesman Dave Herbert said: “We believe adoption by the RNLI is the way forward in providing for the long-term future of the lifeboat in Portishead, with facilities that the crew and lifeboat deserve and need, to continue their role of life-saving at sea.”

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Without the support of the RNLI, fund-raising is an ongoing challenge for the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat Trust. The charity relies solely on volunteers and donations to keep it in operation.

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