Business cash help sought for station

Fraserburgh coxswain Vic Sutherland on the concrete steps in the harbour.
Fraserburgh coxswain Vic Sutherland on the concrete steps in the harbour.

Companies are being urged by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to consider donating towards the costs of installing a new pontoon berth at Fraserburgh lifeboat station.

The cost of the new facility is more than £400,000 and the RNLI is asking businesses if they will consider financing £200,000 of that cost.

The all-weather Willie and May Gall 25-knot Trent class lifeboat lies afloat, moored alongside the harbour wall.

A concrete staircase is built into the quayside for access to the boat – but at low water it is difficult to move equipment or casualties ashore.

At high tide the crew have to clamber over handrailing and protection mats to get aboard, and the boat is also susceptible to damage in rough weather when it is pushed against the harbour wall.

Vic Sutherland, Fraserburgh’s full time coxswain and mechanic, said: “For boarding and disembarking a pontoon will make a big, big difference, irrespective of the state of the tide.

“It gives us a platform to step on to before coming up the stairs or stepping onboard,” he said.

“It will also make transferring casualties off the lifeboat safer and more comfortable, in all weather conditions, making this part of the rescue operation much smoother.

“It will make it easier to maintain the lifeboat, by making it easier to get equipment onto and off the lifeboat, enabling the crew to keep the lifeboat in prime condition and prepared for any eventuality.’

He added: “If it’s been raining heavily, the handrails and staircase are wet, or they can be icy, and that is obviously an issue as the crew go to and from the lifeboat.”

The charity aims to have the pontoon installed next year, with funding in place by the end of 2015.

Over the past three years, the RNLI has worked with Nexen and BG Group to fund projects at Stonehaven and Aberdeen lifeboat stations.

Any business interested in finding out more about the funding project is asked to contact RNLI Corporate Partnerships Manager Ross Martin on 07917 613977, email ross_martin@rnli.org.uk