THE RNLI is delighted with the huge show of support expressed by the community for a new inshore lifeboat station.
The charity has unveiled plans to establish a trial station with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat at Stonehaven.
The aim is to open the station in July after which the RNLI will monitor the volunteer commitment and the number and type of incidents attended. A decision on the long-term future of what would be Scotland’s 47th lifeboat station will be taken at a later date.
The RNLI called a Public Meeting at short notice for last Thursday evening (4 April) in St James’s Church Hall, Stonehaven.
The hall was overflowing with 100 people listening to the plans outlined by Paul Jennings, the RNLI’s Divisional Operations Manager for Central Scotland.
Afterwards many of those present showed their commitment by expressing their interest in a variety of crew and non-crew roles for the new station.
Following the meeting, Mr Jennings said: “We are absolutely delighted with a huge turnout from people in the Stonehaven area. We need to sift through their forms as soon as possible and contact them to follow up their interest.
“However, the RNLI still remains keen to hear from anyone who could not attend the meeting and they can contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org”
The meeting was also attended by representatives from RNLI stations at Aberdeen and Montrose, the flanking stations for Stonehaven.
The RNLI is seeking a crew complement of five helms, 15 crew, a mechanic and three plant operators. The age range for crew is from 17 to 50 years old and they should be able to reach the station within five minutes of their pager being activated.
There are also vacancies for a Lifeboat Operations Manager, Deputy Launching Authorities, a Press Officer, a Medical Advisor and a Training Coordinator.
Mr Jennings added: “We often find that we can have crew available for the night times because they may work away from a town during the day but come home at night. The problem we can face is having enough crew working locally during the day.
“Offshore workers are also suitable to become crew because when they have their time off and spend a couple of weeks at home they are then ideally placed to man the lifeboat.”
There is a davit available at Stonehaven harbour for launching a lifeboat but the RNLI has not yet decided on the best place for a station building with crew changing facilities.
The RNLI has had a lifeboat station at Stonehaven on two previous occasions. More recently the Maritime Rescue Institute charity operated a lifesaving service, but the charity ceased after storms damaged their boats.