Political backing for Arbroath lifeboat

Angus Council has weighed into the controversy surrounding the downgrading of the Arbroath’s lifeboat following a recent full council meeting.

Mark Dowie
Tuesday, 16th May 2023, 3:00pm
Political backing for Arbroath lifeboat

Members considered an emergency motion put forward by Arbroath councillor Lois Speed in the wake of a decision to turn allocate a new all-weather lifeboat to Broughty Ferry instead of the Angus station.

The decision has prompted fury in the town although the RNLI disputes any suggestion the move is a downgrade. The Arbroath crew maintains that the Shannon-class all-weather vessel would be best suited for its needs rather than the Atlantic 85 rigid inflatable it has been allocated.

Operations manager Alex Smith said: “Despite all our questions about the review and the outcome, we have received no definitive answers. The Atlantic 85 is a very capable boat, we have never disputed that. Our priority is to save lives and to do that we must have the best boat available, which is the Shannon all-weather lifeboat.”

Ms Speed said: “Angus Council is sending out an SOS to the RNLI to ask them to reconsider the decision to downgrade Arbroath. This has sent shockwaves through the community due to broken promises and a lack of transparency."

Arbroath West and Letham SNP councillor Martin Shepherd added: “I really hope the RNLI will quickly change their decision. If that’s not the case I’m sure there will be a campaign and I will support that campaign, as I am sure the other Arbroath councillors will.”

North East MSP Maurice Golden has also urged RNLI chiefs to visit Arbroath to explain the decision.

He said: “There are not many areas of the UK which feel the impact of the RNLI’s work more than Arbroath.

"The town has a famous and enduring connection with the sea, and its people have also felt tragedy at its hands. That goes some way to explaining the support towards lifeboat provision and the incredible fundraising efforts which have taken place. It’s essential the organisation comes to Arbroath to explain the rationale for the decision, and listen to those who know best when it comes to what the town needs.”

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