On Wednesday 16th October, five representatives from Hamble Lifeboat travelled to the Houses of Parliament to attend a reception organised by Eastleigh MP Mims Davies to highlight the role and issues faced by Independent lifeboat stations around the UK.
Mims was inspired to organise the event after visiting Hamble Lifeboat in 2018 and understanding first hand how vital Independent Lifeboats are to the safety of life around the UK – particularly in her Eastleigh constituency – whilst also seeing some of the issues faced by the relatively small organisations.
The reception afforded the team from Hamble and the representatives from the other 17 independent lifeboat stations that attended, the opportunity to talk to several MPs about the services they provide to Communities the length and breath of the UK & Ireland. It was a fantastic opportunity to highlight how important government funding is to keeping these crucial services going – specifically the Department for Transport Grant and the Rescue Boat Grant Fund. The team were also able to speak with representatives from other independent lifeboats to discuss common issues including how to raise awareness, fundraising and running costs. There were also two representatives present from the RNLI, which provided an opportunity to forge better relationships between the different organisations.
There are 8 independent Lifeboats in Scotland, 8 in Northern Ireland, 4 in Wales, 38 in England and 28 in the Republic of Ireland – some of which are inland rescue services. In total, 86 identified Independent Lifeboat & Rescue services with 238 RNLI stations across the same region. In 2018, the RNLI Lifeboats launched 8,964 times across their 238 stations. That’s an average of 38 launches per station. By comparison, Hamble Lifeboat launched 103 times in 2018, and to date in 2019 has launched on 92 occasions to tasking from the Solent Coastguard.
Hamble are very grateful to Mims and her team for organising the event, and to the sponsors SC innovation & SCISYS for generously supporting. We are hoping that the event will become an annual one – with the opportunity to run a conference style event next year involving all emergency services.