Two Lifeboats Will Be Axed

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), July 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

Two Lifeboats Will Be Axed


Byline: By Rob Kennedy

Lives could be put at risk after two North East lifeboats were axed, it was claimed today.

The RNLI has sparked anger by withdrawing the off-shore lifeboats based at Blyth and Sunderland.

The organisation says the decision is not a cost-cutting exercise but the axing of the two boats will save around pounds 252,000 a year.

Both stations will retain their inshore lifeboat but experts say this could be disastrous as the smaller boats cannot cope in bad weather.

Former Blyth crew member Ian Woodhouse, 61, who worked on the boat for 17 years, said: "This is a vital service they are getting rid of. The inshore boat can operate in fair conditions but once the wind picks up it wouldn't be able to do it. They would then have to get an off-shore lifeboat from the Tyne, which would take 20 minutes to half an hour.

"If the Tyne boat was tied up the next one available will be from Amble, at least 45 minutes away. They might be saving money but how much is a person's life worth? …

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