The RNLI will place 25 knot Shannon class all-weather lifeboats at Scarborough and Bridlington before Filey’s all-weather lifeboat is withdrawn. The provision of these, along with five inshore lifeboats at Scarborough, Filey, Flamborough and Bridlington, will ensure the RNLI continues to offer the very best lifesaving service on this stretch of the Yorkshire coast. The change at Filey will mean the right type, balance and capability of lifeboats are operating in the right locations to respond to emergencies up to 100 miles out to sea, now and in the future.
The decision to change Filey’s lifeboat was made yesterday (Wednesday 10 April) when the charity’s Trustees accepted the recommendation of its Operations Committee and follows an in-depth review of lifeboat cover in the area. The five-yearly coast review involved a thorough analysis of the rescues carried out in recent years as well as changing trends in sea use off the Yorkshire coast and took into account the improved capabilities of modern RNLI lifeboats.
The highly-capable Atlantic 85 will be a more appropriate vessel for the vast majority of rescues carried out by the Filey crew. An examination of all rescues undertaken by Filey all-weather lifeboat from 2003 to 2012 shows 94.4% could have been safely and effectively dealt with by the Atlantic 85. The small number of rescues requiring an all-weather lifeboat will be handled by the new Shannon class lifeboats expected to be stationed at Scarborough in 2015 and Bridlington in 2017.
By this time, Filey’s all-weather lifeboat will have been on service for 26 years and so is expected to have reached the end of her operational life.
Barry Robson, Coxswain at Filey lifeboat station, said the crew were disappointed by the decision but added: ‘We will now be focussing on the future and making sure we are ready to crew the Atlantic 85 lifeboat when it arrives. We will all be sad to say goodbye to our all-weather lifeboat when she retires but when the call for help goes out and the pagers go off, the volunteers at Filey lifeboat station will still be going out to sea to save lives. The crew are professional, 100 per cent dedicated to what they do, and are fully committed to the RNLI. We hope people locally will continue to give us their full support and get behind us as we move into the future with a new lifeboat in Filey.’
Michael Vlasto, Operations Director for the RNLI, visited Filey lifeboat station yesterday evening to inform the crew of the decision to change their lifeboat.
Mr Vlasto said: ‘Our charity’s priority is to save lives at sea and by conducting regular, painstaking reviews of lifeboat cover around our coastline, we can ensure we provide the best possible search and rescue service while making the most appropriate use of our supporters’ donations.
‘The traditional pattern of sea use has changed greatly over the years. Commercial fishing has been in decline while leisure boating and other sea-based recreational activities have increased. This change, together with the increased speed and capability of modern RNLI lifeboats, means we must continuously adapt the lifesaving service we provide around the coast.
‘After careful scrutiny, the RNLI feels that an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat will be better suited to the vast majority of service launches the Filey volunteers get tasked to. Some may see replacing a larger lifeboat with a smaller one as something of a downgrade but this is definitely not the case. An inshore lifeboat will generally mean quicker, more efficient rescues and so better serves the needs of those in trouble at sea. It will also help reduce the demands on our volunteers as a slightly smaller crew is required.
‘The team at Filey lifeboat station have been fully informed of the rationale involved in both the review process and the final decision. I want to thank them for their contribution to this review, but above all for their dedication, professionalism and commitment to saving lives at sea, which I know will continue with the arrival of their new lifeboat.’
Regular coast reviews allow the RNLI to adapt to changing search and rescue demands. In the past 20 years, a total of 40 new inshore lifeboat stations and five all-weather lifeboat stations have been established by the charity in the UK and Ireland, while four lifeboat stations have closed. This reflects a change in the nature of rescues, with fewer taking place long distances out at sea and more incidents occurring much closer to shore and requiring the speed and precision of smaller lifeboats.
Notes to editors
RNLI representatives will be available for interview today (Thursday 11 April) from 10am to 2pm. To arrange, contact Alison Levett, RNLI PR Manager on 07786 668912 or Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer on 01642 754811 or 07824 518641.
• From 2003 to 2012, 94.4% of services dealt with by Filey’s all-weather lifeboat could have been successfully handled by an Atlantic 85. In some cases, the higher speed and better manoeuvrability of the Atlantic 85 mean it would have been a more effective rescue vessel than the Mersey.
• The six services which would have required a larger all-weather lifeboat could have been safely and effectively dealt with by the lifeboats based nearby at Scarborough and Bridlington.
• Over the past ten years, the average distance travelled by the all-weather lifeboat to a casualty was 3.2 miles.
• Only one service in the past ten years took place in wind conditions stronger than a Force 7.
• From 2003 to 2012, the volunteer crews at Filey launched their all-weather lifeboat 108 times and assisted 147 people. The inshore lifeboat was launched 232 times and assisted 208 people.
About RNLI lifeboats
• Inshore lifeboats (ILBs) generally operate within ten miles of the coast, often in shallower waters and closer to cliffs. They tend to be quicker for transferring casualties due to their speed and better manoeuvrability.
• The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat is capable of a top speed of 35 knots. It is 8.3 metres long and its design incorporates a radar system, VHF direction finder and two 115 horse power outboard motors. It carries four crew members and can stay at sea at full speed for 2.5 hours. It can operate in relatively shallow water and is highly manoeuvrable.
• All-weather lifeboats (ALBs) are larger boats that can operate safely in any weather conditions and are capable of travelling at up to 25 knots with a 250 mile operational range. They normally carry six crew members.
• The Mersey class all-weather lifeboat has a top speed of 17 knots and at Filey is launched from a carriage and tractor unit. Its comprehensive electronics include VHF and MF radios, VHF direction finder and DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) with electronic chart system and radar. It has as two 280 horse power engines. The last Mersey was built in 1993 and the class will be gradually replaced by the new Shannon class.
• The Shannon class all-weather lifeboat has a top speed of 25 knots and will be the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be powered by twin waterjets instead of propellers. It will be equipped with SIMS (System and Information Management System), which allows crew members to monitor and operate many of the lifeboat's functions from the safety of their seats. It will have two 650 horse power engines. The first Shannon is expected to be on service late this year.
RNLI lifeboats in Yorkshire
The following lifeboats are currently stationed in Yorkshire:
• Staithes and Runswick – Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat
• Whitby – Trent class all-weather lifeboat and D-class inshore lifeboat
• Scarborough – Mersey class all-weather lifeboat (to be replaced by Shannon in 2015) and D-class inshore lifeboat
• Filey – Mersey class all-weather lifeboat (to be replaced by Atlantic 85 by 2017) and D-class inshore lifeboat
• Flamborough – Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat
• Bridlington - Mersey class all-weather lifeboat (to be replaced by Shannon in 2017) and D-class inshore lifeboat
• Withernsea - D-class inshore lifeboat
• Humber – Severn class all-weather lifeboat
1. RNLI Atlantic 85 lifeboat. Credit Dave Cocks.
2. Filey Mersey class lifeboat. Credit RNLI.
RNLI media contacts
For more information contact Alison Levett, RNLI PR Manager, North, on 01642 754828 / 07786 668912 or Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer, North, on 01642 754811 / 07824 518641 or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.