Lifeboat association puts down deposit on vessel

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Following months of searching and the official formation of the association in the Royal Court, the group has chosen a former RNLI all-weather lifeboat currently based in the Isle of Wight.

It has placed a £5,000 deposit, and in a press conference announced details of a fundraising drive to help secure the boat in the coming months, including putting 500 collection buckets around the Island.

They also plan to buy a £200,000 inshore lifeboat which they claim is faster than the comparative vessel used by the St Helier RNLI.

Paul Battrick, chairman of the Jersey Lifeboat Association Committee, said: ‘We are going to have a boat, we have got to have it and there is going to be more coming out in the next few weeks that will strengthen our case.

‘It is a changing situation every day – it is a case of the sooner the better for us, but we need to get it right. That is the most important thing. It cannot be rushed.’

Mr Battrick also said that they would not be able to bring the Tyne-class boat to Jersey until it was bought outright.

However, he added that initial surveys on the boat had been completed and that it was in good condition, with only minor cosmetic work needed before it was ready for service.

‘There is a lot of money coming from some big donors,’ he said.

‘I cannot say exactly when it will be here but it will be here. It will be within a reasonable timeframe.’

Ben Shenton, chairman of the association’s council, said the charity was not looking for financial assistance from the States.

‘We are not actually looking for any States funding per se. We are looking for assistance with finding a decent mooring and general help but not financial help.

‘They should contribute in the way that they should support us with finding a station if we need a station and moorings that we are not paying over the odds for.

‘I think they should also support us politically. When the George Sullivan was taken off-Island, there was a conspiracy between the States and RNLI to invite the crew to Cyril Le Marquand House so they would be absent from the station when the boat was removed.

‘This does not give us a lot of confidence in impartiality but hopefully we will have better relations going forward.’

The group was formed after the RNLI closed the St Helier station and took the George Sullivan back to Poole following a long-running dispute with the crew. The vessel has since been brought back to Jersey and the UK charity is training a new crew.

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