South Scotland

St Abbs lifeboat station set to be closed

St Abbs lifeboat Image copyright RNLI/Richard Smith

St Abbs lifeboat station in the Borders is set to be closed as part of an "extensive review" by the RNLI.

Under the proposals by the charity's trustees, an inshore boat would be added at nearby Eyemouth.

The review will also see changes in the north east of England with plans for new state-of-the-art Shannon class lifeboats at Seahouses and Amble.

It means that an older Mersey-class boat at Berwick-Upon-Tweed will not be replaced in 2018.

Further down the coast, a second, faster inshore lifeboat will be added to Blyth.

The RNLI said it "continually reviews" its lifesaving services around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.

It said it ensured "the right lifeboats" were stationed at the "right locations".

'Painstaking consideration'

"Our charity's priority is to save lives at sea and by conducting regular reviews of lifeboat cover around our coastline, we can ensure we provide the best possible search and rescue service while making the most appropriate use of our supporters' donations," said George Rawlinson, RNLI operations director.

"The traditional pattern of sea use has changed greatly over the years.

"Commercial fishing has declined in many areas and leisure activities are on the rise.

"Taking advantage of the greater speed and capabilities of modern RNLI lifeboats, we continuously adapt our lifesaving service to meet current and future requirements and ensure public safety is not put at risk or compromised."

St Abbs lifeboat station is expected to close by the end of the summer.

"The RNLI does not take lightly any decision to close a lifeboat station - such changes are only made after extensive operational research and painstaking consideration," Mr Rawlinson said.

"But we understand that this will be disappointing for our crew, supporters and the community at St Abbs.

"The lifeboat station has served the RNLI proudly for over a hundred years, saved 226 lives and rescued many more in that time.

"On behalf of everyone at the RNLI I would like to thank the volunteers for their dedication and commitment to saving lives at sea."

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