- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Uncategorized
Joyce Watson AM was at New Quay Lifeboat Station on Saturday (23 September) for talks on retaining the service’s all-weather capability.
In June, RNLI announced its intention to downgrade the service when the serving Mersey class lifeboat is decommissioned in 2020.
More than 10,000 people have signed the ‘Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign’ petition, challenging the decision. They say the reduced service, which would be unable to launch in rough seas – those exceeding Force 7 in the daytime and Force 6 at night – would leave 70 miles of coastline more vulnerable.
Speaking after her meeting with RNLI New Quay volunteers, the Labour Mid and West Wales AM said:
“The crew members are hugely knowledgeable and what they say is that, in bad conditions, boats from Barmouth and Fishguard would take more than an hour and a half to reach some parts of Cardigan Bay.
“This decision will communities up and down the coast – Cardigan, Aberporth, Tresaith, Llangrannog, Aberaeron, Llanon, Aberystwyth. But I am also worried about the impact further along, north and south – on the capacity of Barmouth and Fishguard to protect a greater area.”
Mrs Watson added:
“Not only are the smaller vessels limited to calmer conditions, they cannot go as far out-to-sea. The crew also told me that, because of the lower vantage point above the waves, the smaller boats provide less visibility and therefore search and rescue capability.”
RNLI has said Pwllheli and Barmouth stations in Gwynedd will each get the charity’s ‘most agile and manoeuvrable’ Shannon class all-weather lifeboat at a total cost of £4.4m. The lifeboat earmarked for New Quay costs just more than £200,000.