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South Broads RNLI lifeboat station to close

About the author

Image of Amy Ross

Amy Ross
Divisional Media Relations Manager

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Amy Ross

South Broads RNLI lifeboat station to close

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has today announced that its Trustees have accepted the recommendations of its Operations Committee to close South Broads RNLI lifeboat station in Suffolk.

A Coast Review in January 2011 and a comprehensive evaluation through the summer concluded that public safety on The Broads would be better served by relocating the station’s assets elsewhere and improving the ability of nearby Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat station to respond to incidents in the area.

South Broads is an inland lifeboat station at Oulton Broad crewed entirely by volunteers, who operate one D class lifeboat, an XP boat, and a 4x4 vehicle. The vehicle will be transferred to Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, where an Arancia rescue boat, which is more suited to operating from the various slipways in and around The Broads, will be deployed.

The Arancia is a rugged inshore rescue boat, with a shallow hull design that allows it to maintain speed and manoeuvrability in very shallow and confined waters but produces less wash. Lighter in weight, it is easier to handle by lifeboat crews and can be deployed rapidly from a towed trailer.

Both the D class lifeboat and XP boat will continue to serve in the RNLI’s relief fleet, which ensures the RNLI can offer seamless safety cover around the coast when lifeboats are being maintained or repaired.

RNLI Operations Director Michael Vlasto said: ‘The RNLI does not take the decision to close a lifeboat station lightly but our Coast Review clearly showed that, by reinforcing Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, and by introducing the Arancia, the RNLI can improve its lifesaving service to the public. The main launch sites will be more accessible meaning we can extend our cover to a much wider area in The Broads.’

RNLI East Divisional Inspector Andrew Ashton said: ‘On behalf of the Trustees, I would like to thank the volunteers at South Broads for their understanding, commitment and dedication to the lifeboat station over the years. We realise they will be disappointed by this decision but it is in no way a reflection on them. We hope they will remain in the RNLI family and continue to support our service in other ways. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their support over the years.’

Great Yarmouth and Gorleston already covers Breydon Water. By moving an Arancia to Gorleston, the RNLI will be able to provide better coverage over a much larger part of The Broads, where the majority of incidents occur.

The decision has the support of Yarmouth Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, which has the responsibility for co-ordinating the response for incidents on the whole of The Broads. The Broads Authority, which has responsibility for implementing the Port Marine Safety Code on The Broads, also backs the decision to re-locate a rescue boat, believing that the Institution will be providing an improved service to the south Broads.

South Broads RNLI lifeboat station opened in 2001. Since then, its volunteers have carried out 194 rescues and saved two lives. The majority of the call-outs were made to broken-down pleasure craft. The RNLI currently operates 235 lifeboat stations around the coast of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Notes to editors

  • More information about South Broads lifeboat station is available at www.rnli.org.uk/rnli_near_you/east/stations/SouthBroadsOultonBroadSuffolk
  • The RNLI conducts its Coast Reviews every five years to ensure the charity is meeting the UK and Republic of Ireland’s changing search and rescue needs while making best use of the public’s donations. In the past 20 years alone the RNLI has evolved considerably, establishing 40 new inshore lifeboat stations and five all-weather lifeboat stations. In the same period three lifeboat stations have been closed. Recently the RNLI announced two trials at Leverburgh on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and Lough Ree on the River Shannon in Ireland.
  • Photos showing the lifeboat station buildings at South Broads are attached.
  • A map showing The Broads and the location of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston and South Broads station is attached.
  • Interview opportunities with RNLI East Divisional Inspector Andrew Ashton can be arranged by contacting Divisional Media Relations Manager Amy Ross on 07786 668825
  • The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Amy Ross, Divisional Media Relations Manager (East and Kent) on 07786 668825 or 01473 714387, email amy_ross@rnli.org.uk or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland