St Abbs volunteer lifeboat crew took to the sea and to the internet recently to bring home their concerns over future lifeboat provision.
On May 23 the crew timed - and filmed -a run from Eyemouth Harbour to Petticowick, north of St Abbs head, in a small Atlantic 75 boat.
The aim was to investigate the length of time taken to reach the popular diving sites from Eyemouth, using the boats that the RNLI plan to have on call following the closure of St Abbs station this summer.
To view the video, visit St Abbs RNLI Lifeboat Station’s Facebook page.
The boat arrived at Petticowick in about eight minutes.
“This run was completed in near perfect conditions with only about one metre of swell coming around the Head,” the crew pointed out. “Visibility was excellent, and wind and tide were in our favour.”
They added that they had wanted to investigate the “four minute hypothesis” that they had been hearing earlier in the summer.
An RNLI spokesperson said this week: “We estimate it would take the D class stationed at Eyemouth from five to ten minutes to reach a call out at St Abbs depending on conditions. In addition, over a third of St Abbs’ services in the last five years have been attended by Eyemouth lifeboat, which demonstrates there is already a natural overlap of services in this area.”
Addressing the discussion of cost involved in upgrading the St Abbs boat to a larger Atlandtic model, the statement continued: “The current B class Atlantic 75 Dorothy and Katherine Barr II lifeboat was placed on service in 2002 and would be due to be upgraded to a bigger Atlantic 85 in 2016. This would require significant future investment in building works and alterations to the lifeboat station in order to house the lifeboat and provide appropriate facilities for the crew. The predicted costs would be more than £1.5M.”
Comments on the video focused on the fact that such boats may struggle in less than perfect weather.
Margaret Wilson, for instance, took to Facebook to comment under the video: “That extra 4 mins could have just cost a life. RNLI is supposed to have saved that life.”
The online petition to keep an RNLI station in St Abbs this week broke the 4,000 signature barrier, 4,150 people signing up in support.
This Saturday,July 4, at 4pm the campaign will try to get as many people as possible to walk from the Ebba Centre and Old School Cafe down to the lifeboat station, with people wearing Save St Abbs Lifeboat t-shirts.
It is a short walk and would be suitable for young and old alike.