‘Essential’ boost for lifeboat crew from Keith Owen Fund
19:30 22 April 2014
A NEW back-up vessel will be an ‘essential’ part of the valued safety cover Sidmouth Lifeboat affords residents and visitors.
The service the independent cause provides the town was the main factor in the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund handing over £7,100 to the charity.
The contribution was handed over when a team of six crew members arrived home from an around-the-country cycling effort on Sunday.
Sidmouth Lifeboat currently runs a 7.6 metre-long Arctic 24 capable of operating up to 20 miles out to sea in near-gale conditions. This nine-year-old boat is expected to continue in service for another 15 years or so.
However, its small, four metre, Zodiac inflatable Sidmouth 2 - which has been used for training – is approaching the end of its serviceable life.
The new £15,000 Searider boat is the same length as the old Zodiac but with a rigid inflatable structure - like the Arctic. Sidmouth Lifeboat senior coxswain Phil Shepperd described the new addition as ‘a very capable vessel’.
He said: “A secondary boat like this is essential to us delivering our training programme, which cannot be met by the Arctic alone despite training at sea five times a month.
“The Searider will enable helm and crew training at various levels in its own right, and also allow a range of other training activities with the Arctic such as rescue, towing and pacing.
“The new Sidmouth 2 will also, where required, augment the capability of the Arctic on search and rescue taskings.”
Keith Owen Fund chairman, The Reverend Handel Bennett, said: “The SVA values the safety cover provided by the independent Sidmouth Lifeboat, for the benefit it brings to our holiday resort.
“It is an essential service for both residents and visitors. The award we have made is a contribution towards a ‘back-up’ boat to ensure rescue services can be sustained for years to come.”