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Why Hamble needs a new lifeboat station
The biggest obstacle to meeting these challenges is the current lifeboat station. This is a prefabricated 'Atcost' garage, erected 30 years ago. It falls far short of modern health and safety standards and is also now too small to house either boat properly. The boats have to be partially dismantled - which takes two hours - before being stored as part of the rotation and maintenance schedule.
Once inside, a boat takes up most of the room in the station, making vital maintenance of boat and equipment incredibly difficult. The lack of space also makes it impossible to rinse and dry crucial safety equipment after a call, shortening its life and putting more demands on volunteers to raise funds to buy replacements. With the boat taking up most of the room, essential shore training for the crew has to take place outside, year-round, in all weathers.
A final drawback is the boathouse's lack of facilities: heating, toilets and hot showers. This has recently taken on a greater prominence with Hamble's drive to recruit more crew and spread the burden of the duty rota. Lack of modern facilities is deterring potential new crew-members from joining. It is understandably unfair to continue to expect a lifeboat man or woman to wash in the cold sea after a winter's night-time call-out. A new purpose built lifeboat station is Hamble lifeboat's greatest priority in preparing for those challenges.
A new station to meet new challenges
Funding for a new lifeboat station is being sought now because planning permission and a lease on the current site have been recently secured. The planning permission is for a 187m2, two storey building, which will replace the present boathouse and neighbouring public conveniences. The plan for the new lifeboat station include:
· adequate room for secure storage and maintenance of one of the service's two lifeboats,
· enough storage space for safety and first aid equipment,
· comfortable quarters for duty crews at weekends and bank holidays,
· indoor shore training facilities for lifeboat crews,
· hot showers for crews to wash down after call-outs,
· toilet facilities for crews, with separate public access,
· compliance with current health and safety requirements.
Better serving our crew and people in difficulty on the water
A new lifeboat station will allow Hamble Lifeboat to meet the greater demand for rescues and the more rigorous service standards that are coming into force. It will provide greater comfort for lifeboat crews and make training and lifeboat maintenance easier and more efficient. It will also prolong the life of safety equipment ad help the funds that our supports work so hard to raise go further.
Better training will help keep our crews' skills on the water well-honed, maintaining and improving the assistance they give to people in difficulties on the water. Easier maintenance will help guarantee the lifeboats' preparedness for every emergency situation. A fully functional station will, moreover, help preserve our rapid response times, especially important when the station is not manned: on weekdays and at night.
Visitors to the river Hamble foreshore will also benefit from separate access to the station's WCs.
The new lifeboat station is expected to take six months to build, during which time the off-duty boat will be relocated. Once built, Hamble Lifeboat plans to meet the new station's running and maintenance costs through its local fundraising efforts and the donated time and skills of its supporters.
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