St Helier Lifeboat Station Statement
The following statement can be attributed to the RNLI’s Director of Community Lifesaving and Fundraising, Leesa Harwood.
Today is a sad day. As you know the St Helier crew met with the RNLI earlier this week to say they felt that the relationship with the RNLI is broken and that they want to establish an independent station. I have taken some time to think and speak with the chief executive and the trustees of the RNLI and I can now confirm our next steps.
It’s with regret that we have made the difficult decision to close the St Helier lifeboat station for the immediate future. It is impossible to run a station when the relationship with the RNLI and crew has broken down to this extent.
The crew have made it quite clear that they want to leave the RNLI and set up an independent lifeboat station. In the interim period, while they pursue that aim, I do not believe that they can fully commit to the RNLI. I no longer have confidence that the station can be run without constant challenges and without constant threat of crew resignation.
The lifeboat station and shop in St Helier will be closed and secured. The crew have been stood down. The RNLI has notified the coastguard that there is no longer a declared RNLI search and rescue service at St Helier.
We would like to reassure the Jersey community that St Catherine’s RNLI lifeboat station remains open and we will be doing everything we can to restore an RNLI all-weather lifeboat service to the island as quickly as possible, working alongside the States of Jersey, the coastguard and the maritime community.
Our immediate focus will be on restoring an inshore lifeboat service in St Helier. Re-establishing all-weather lifeboat cover will take a few months and in the meantime the RNLI will transfer the Tamar class lifeboat to Poole, where it will be fully serviced and stay while we make plans for the future.
I would like to thank the St Helier Crew for their service to the RNLI and recognise their time and commitment over the years. It has been very much appreciated.
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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 Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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.
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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland