The RNLI ... Ever Decreasing Circles

Captain Black's picture

Scarborough's Life Boat house is set for demolition within two weeks.  This is to make way for the much heralded new Life Boat House that will accommodate the new  £2mil Shannon Class lifeboat. See here:  Alongside which has run a fundraising campaign to raise £200,000 for equipment, see here:   Indeed we have been made to feel very special that Scarborough should receive such recognition for its contribution to "Saving Lives at Sea".

However, the RNLI Annual Report 2013 states much of the fundraising for the RNLI comes from Legacies ...   "The income of the RNLI rose from £172.9m to £174.7m in 2012, according to accounts filed with the Charity Commission last week.  The total of resources expended was £148.9m during the year, the accounts show.  The charity’s legacy income, its main source of funding, topped £100m for the first time. Legacies made up 58 per cent of the charity’s income and were worth £101.4m, up from £97.7m in the previous year. At the end of the year, the charity had reserves of £613m, including a large portfolio of fixed assets, worth £344m. The charity says in the report that it had free reserves of £77.6m. The accounts also show a loss of £3.8m on its defined-benefit pension fund, leaving it with a £24.9m pensions shortfall at the end of the year.  The charity’s lifeboats were launched 8,346 times in 2012, rescuing 7,964 people and saving 328 lives, the charity’s annual report says."

It would seem that the RNLI, the largest Charity in the UK,  has a lot of money that needs spending and is currently embarked upon major development of, the RNLI's construction programme, building or upgrading lifeboat stations around the coast at a rate of 12-14 a year;

"It's major current project is the £17m All-Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset, which brings together a production facility for a new generation of Shannon class all-weather lifeboats and maintenance and refit facilities due to be operational in 2017.  Built on an exposed harbourside site, the ALC will have two main building areas connected by a central courtyard. In Building A, composite hulls will be cast in huge moulds, then sprayed and painted in a special booth fitted with an extraction system, then the boats will be transferred to Building B where the engines and wheel houses will be installed.  A mezzanine walkway runs along both sides of the boat hall at a height of 3m, allowing engineers and technicians to walk straight onto the deck level of Severn class lifeboats for maintenance work. There will also be a viewing gallery and “visitor experience” suite with full height windows looking out over one of the build halls. 

Previously, the work would have been carried out on a number of commercial boatyards around the country, and the decision to build one facility for the entire country reflects some uncomfortable trends. “The main reason is strategic – the maritime industry in the UK is on the decline, and we couldn’t guarantee there would be a resource there in the future for us,” says Chris Refoy, construction manager with RNLI Estates." Source:

(NB Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a collaborative way of working, underpinned by the digital technologies.) Ever decreasing circles ...

So indeed Scarborough is not alone in its mission to "Saving Life at Sea", early in December it was announced that our neighbour Bridlington was to receive its own barn new Life Boat Station:  "An East Yorkshire seaside town could get a £3m lifeboat station if plans are passed by a council. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) wants to replace the lifeboat building on South Marine Drive in Bridlington with a new one 500m away on Spa Promenade. The RNLI said the 1903 building was "cramped and outdated". East Riding of Yorkshire Council will decide whether to pass the plans on 8 January. The council had previously agreed the promenade south of Bridlington Spa could be widened by up to seven metres so the current lifeboat can be launched more safely and effectively.  Michael Oakes, of the RNLI, said the new site, which is between Bridlington Spa and the pumping station, would mean all the lifesaving equipment could be kept together in one place instead of the inshore lifeboat and equipment being kept a short walk away in a separate building on Princess Mary Promenade. Mr Oakes said it would also mean quicker launch times because the lifeboat would not need to cross the road and the Shannon-class lifeboat, which is due to replace the current Mersey all-weather lifeboat by 2018, could be kept inside coupled with its launch vehicle.  Plans for the two-storey building include public viewing areas, a mechanic station and a shop, as well as improved changing and equipment facilities. The RNLI has other lifeboat stations at Flamborough, Bridlington, Withernsea and Humber in East Yorkshire."

Great, so lets all have one ... especially when they have their  production line up and running in Dorset, as opposed to boats built locally.  

It should be remembered that the RNLI has Charity status and is highly dependent on volunteers and donations.

A bit of RNLI history:  "The predecessor to the RNLI was founded over 170 years ago and was known as the "National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck". Even then, the service was funded by voluntary support as it is today. In 1854 the Institution was renamed the "Royal National Lifeboat Institution", a name it still carries today. From 1854 - 1869, the RNLI received a subsidy from the Government to make up the shortfall in voluntary funds. But since 1869 the RNLI has been entirely dependant upon and run from voluntary funds.  The men and women who make up the RNLI rescue service also volunteer their efforts and do not receive payment for their duties, only receiving a token payment to cover their expenses. Without their sacrifice, the RNLI as we know it today would not exist."

Poole lifeboat station was the busiest coastal station in 2010, according to figures released by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Rescue vessels from the harbour in Dorset were launched 148 times, saving 155 people. By 2013 the RNLI had upped their game to save 355 people.

"In 2013, 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members were on call, ready to launch to the rescue. Over 3,000 volunteer shore crew and station management supported them. Meanwhile, the members of some 1,100 fundraising branches and groups encouraged support around the UK and Republic of Ireland ... hundreds of museum and shop volunteers shared our heritage and sold fundraising products."

The RNLI now has a fleet of over 300 lifeboats, ranging from the smaller inshore rescue inflatable to 55ft Severn class all weather rescue boats. The cost of the latest and largest Lifeboat is now in excess of £1 Million pounds, whilst the smaller inshore inflatable still costs over £11,000 pounds. You can see that it costs a serious amount of money to provide the 24 hour cover we expect from the RNLI. From their 222 Lifeboat Stations, they provide cover up to a range of 50 miles from the UK and Republic of Ireland Coast.

The RNLI has also teamed up with the Life Guards, formerly a service offered by local councils the RNLI Lifeguard programme patrols over 202 UK beaches.  Last year, they responded to 199,594 incidents with 21,938 people aided. which slightly bumps up their need for existance.  It is unclear if these Life Guards are volunteers or paid. Though the RNLI website does suggest these pasts are renumerated, along with many other roles within the RNLI: ... Ever decreasing circles ...

Anyhow as can be derived, from its small charitable beginnings the RNLI has now evolved into an industry all of its own.  Indeed its Annual report to 31st December is quite mind boggling, once you get past the emotive statements of how much the RNLI is needed and in need.

However successful the RNLI has become with its slick marketing, communications and technology that announces the 'Latest Launches' via its homepage  from (pagers carried by lifeboat crew members) it encourages all and sundry to become part of the 'service' and or part of the action: 

However some are not happy that the expansion of the RNLI has come at a cost to other Sea and Rescue services, external to the RNLI that are still much needed and in operation:

"However there is also a network of independent lifeboat organisations who don't have access to the vast fundraising network of the RNLI. They do the same job. They are Declared Rescue Facilities, available to HM Coastguard in exactly the same way as the RNLI. Their volunteer crews are just as dedicated and brave. But they have to scrimp and save for everything and their facilities are generally way below the level of a comparable RNLI station.
These will never get the attention of the Women's Institute branches in the Midlands, or manage to form a Fundraising Guild in Wisbech way inland.
The overwhelming majority of general public support will never even know about the other lifeboat services. However, as a small but well informed user group, we are in a position to really make a difference without having any significant effect on the RNLI.

Unlike the £274,000 that the RNLI spends every day, relatively small amounts of money can make a big difference to these independent organisations. In most cases every penny that is donated will go directly to providing the rescue service. Only 80% of the money donated to the RNLI goes to the operations budget, the remainder going on fundraising and admin.
So if you're going to donate money for a lifeboat, why not put it where your contribution will really make difference?
Here are some candidates you might like to consider:
Gosport And Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (
Cowes Inshore Lifeboat (
Hamble Lifeboat (
Ryde Inshore Rescue (
Southport Offshore Rescue Trust (
Severn Area Rescue Association (
The Portishead Lifeboat Trust (
Humber Rescue (
Hornsea Rescue (
East Sutherland Rescue Association (
Loughor Inshore Lifeboat (
Haverigg Inshore Rescue (


"Last I heard was that the RNLI had so much money that they were in danger of losing their charity status."  a quote from 2006?

An interesting time for the local RNLI, at that time local 'hero' (from his own webpage) - "Fred is a founding member and former Chairman of National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, ex-operations manager of Scarborough Lifeboat and is President of the Scarborough Sea Cadet Corp.... Now shore based, he manages and part owns five trawlers between 60 and 87 Feet. Fred is also a Director of Alliance Fish Co. which he and three other skippers formed in 1982, enabling them to market their own catches. This agency now acts for the majority of Scarborough vessels. The Company also deals in wholesale, retail fish and shellfish.  Fred came ashore in 1991 having spent 26 years at sea, 20 as skipper/owner of trawling, pair trawling and potting vessels to concentrate on the administration side of his business interests. His hobbies include writing, speaking to local groups, sailing on the STS Lord Nelson as a ‘Bosun’s Mate’ and having a few beers with his pals in the Old Town pub, the ‘Leeds Arms’."

Amazingly after all the hard work local Fred has contributed to the local Lifeboat operations there has been no official 'ceremony' to mark his farewell from the RNLI operations.

Among his creative writing abilities Fred has kept records of the local fishing fleets: AKA Frederick George Normandale -  director check shows current interests as:

It has recently been spotted  that fishing boats are been used to patrol an area just off the coast of Scarborough where beneath lies oil and gas pipe lines. Territorial?  ... Ever decreasing circles

Scarborough Branch of the RNLI once claimed to be the UK's second biggest earner for the RNLI, though figures and accounts to support this claim have not materialised.  Access to these, if they exist, have been reportedly denied because of the RNLI's  'Charitable Status'. 

Meanwhile for Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI it is business as usual, and is looking to expand the RNLI industry:

By 2019 we will have:

• deployed our 25-knot all-weather lifeboat fleet

• reached a production level of 6 new all-weather lifeboats and 22 inshore lifeboats each year

• established 300 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and Republicof Ireland

• reviewed our capability and implemented changes to provide flood response at a local and national level.

By 2024 we will have:

• halved drowning in the UK and Republic of Ireland

• launched a global initiative,in partnership with others, to tackle the global drowningproblem

There was some murmers earlier in the year about the RNLI investing into mining giant Rio Tinto, no evidence in the RNLI's anual report and accounts supports this, though in ever decreasing circles :

Perhaps with a new Life Boat Station and a new Operations Manager there needs to be drawn  a line in the sand.

Before the Old Lifeboat house is demolished would be in good time.

To date, there is no evidence that a former leading member of the RNLI has made it to the top table of the St Catherines Hospice, recently becoming a member of  the Hospices' Trustees Board as Treasurer... Ever decreasing circles:

What goes around comes around ....







Mortal Mindy's picture

Patrolling the Pipelines

Patrolling the pipelins pays a thousand pound a day min. Some local fishing boats just 'changed hands' to capitalise on the contracts, not that the boats automatically come with the contracts, cough ... the to protect the pipelines from being caught and ripped up by those huge nets.

Best not to get caught up in  HM Coastguards dastardly attempt to net £5 mil drugs landing last summer, swiftly followed up by the Customs & Excise raid on West Pier in late Autumn .... still I understand they have fingered one or two along our shores ... oh well, given the best of two evils - fess up to illegals coming ashore without visas and passports id etc (aka unlicenced crew) or fess up for 'slave labour' ...  have no doubt it will all be swept out to sea ...

Meanwhile expect the price of scallops to soar ...

Oh yeah and in ever decreasing circles the Dogger bank is looking dodgy - wots that co in Whitby got 15 boats on stand by? Ouch ....

Mortal Mindy's picture

A Series of Unfortunate events:

1. How would they know there was only 8 people on board this capsized (concrete carrying!) ship?


3. This was done on purpose:

4.  Black Fishing is a global problem:

5.  There are rules:

The 'Rules' :

The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code were adopted on 25 June 2010 ....

Capt. 'Bob''s picture

Cemfjord Update

"... The MAIB said Cemfjord's managing company had implemented several changes and initiatives aimed at "improving the safe operation of its cement carrying vessels and the safety culture of its crews".

No trace of the seven Polish nationals and one Filipino on board the Cemfjord was found despite an extensive search operation."

Diving for evidence :


Capt. 'Bob''s picture

Predators In the Bay

Meanwhile in Skardiborgas, the new lifeboat house, Skardiborg's answer to Area 51 is continuing at Warp Factor One as many mysterons are wondering if the OESG have started fracking offshore  as a strange orange blob in the sky continues to fend off  cloaking devices and a strange vessel has been spotted ... activites unknown.

Vulcanss are continuing to circle the predatory vessel.

Mortal Mindy's picture

Bingo Bob is in the Know?

Keeping it local ... from Aug/14 Whitby Gazette: "Scallop fishing is turning the seabed off Whitby into a “marine desert” the town’s local MP has warned.

Robert Goodwill, MP for Whitby, has taken up the fight of local charter skippers... He is taking his concerns to Elizabeth Truss, the new secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs with a campaign to change the fishing restrictions off the Whitby coast.

He voiced his controversial thoughts after an emergency meeting in town last week with a group of local fishermen. They fear their livelihoods are at risk because of the surge in the visiting scalloping industry which they claim is ripping up the sea bed.

Mr Goodwill told the Gazette: “The Yorkshire coast is under attack and the ecosystem is being destroyed.

“Damage is being done to the shellfish and scallop industry, and the impact on the local fishing community could be irreparable.”

Over recent years there has been an increase in the number of boats from other parts of the country - from as far as Brixham to Scotland - visiting Whitby waters to tap into the resources of scallops and to avoid fishing restrictions which are in place in other parts of the country but not along the Yorkshire coast.

But the way they catch the product, effectively by dredging, is damaging the seabed. the food sources and natural habitat upon which other fish, particularly white fish are supposed to thrive.

The local skippers say the stocks of white fish as a result are on the decline which in turn is having a knock on effect on the charter skippers who run commercial fishing trips and competitions.

It is also having an effect on stocks of crab and lobsters and trawler fishermen, who fish to supply the town’s restaurants and seafood shops, will also begin to suffer as a result.

Following the meeting Mr Goodwill agreed to take the case to Ms Truss and also George Eustice, a member of the Downing Street Policy Board looking at energy and the environment, food and rural affairs.

He is requesting that a six mile buffer zone be put in place for bigger boats which would be in line with other sections of the east coast.

Mr Goodwill added: “I’ve spoken to divers who have witnessed the destruction by scallop dredging. The reason visiting scallopers are coming here is that they are not allowed to fish in their local waters due to the damaging effects of their fishing techniques.”

Whitby’s charter skippers said the scallopers might as well “drop a bomb” for all the concern they have about the environment.

They said: “For short returns they have no concern for the marine environment. It’s like dropping a bomb, the fish, scallops, lobsters and crabs will have gone.

“If they continue to carry on this way for another winter,businesses such as the charter boats and other shellfish operators could suffer dramatic consequences.

“Charter boats play a big part in the local economy and people come here from around the country to compete in fishing festivals. They stay in local hotels and eat in our restaurants.

“We desperately need a six mile limit which would mean that these boats don’t damage our reefs. For years they have developed and flourished due to local fishermen ensuring they are sustainable. We need to bring in a by law urgently to save our sustainable angling fleet before its too late.”


Mortal Mindy's picture

RNLI & Value Added Tax

"The Government has agreed to give VAT relief to all charities working as part of the UK Emergency Response Service.

The RNLI's response is:  'The RNLI is extremely grateful to the government for agreeing to give VAT relief to all charities working as part of the UK Emergency Response Service. This should mean that the RNLI is no longer paying VAT to the Government of around £2.5M each year, which instead will be invested into keeping our coastal communities safe. The RNLI has worked closely with the Charity Tax Group, the Association of Air Ambulances and the UK Search and Rescue Volunteers Working Group to deliver this result, which will benefit all emergency response charities and in turn enable more lives to be saved.

This will also mean the RNLI will now be on the same tax footing as their emergency service colleagues, such as the police, fire service and coastguard agencies.'

So why don't the lifeboat crews get paid then?

RNLI financial controller: “The current situation is a minefield. We are in the ludicrous position that the construction of a lifeboat is zero- rated, yet training the crew to operate that lifeboat is not. The construction of a lifeboat station is zero-rated, yet repairing and maintaining that station is not. This complexity only adds to our administrative costs. In the last two years alone the RNLI has been visited six times by HM Customs and Excise in their efforts to ensure we pay every penny due under the current system.”
Mortal Mindy's picture

What? Wriggles & Worms

Another 'story' wriggled out of:

"the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority has implemented a bye-law prohibiting scallop dredging for a six-month period throughout its stretch of coast, from Whitby to Filey"

I guess those boats with lucrative contracts protecting the pipe lines from the Scallop dredgers  will be up for grabs pdq.

Oh well, last time I looked the Life Boat House had not been bulldozed .... and a quick check and the 'authority' has closed access to the 'net' ... still can't have stories of drug smuggling, illegal migrants and slave labour poisoning our sandy shores... that just would not do...

Welcome to Scarbados.

So What? -lol ;-)



Mortal Mindy's picture

Humber HM Coastguard

Work has been carried out at the search and rescue coordination centre to upgrade the technology and introduce new systems.

This means Humber CGOC will be connected to the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Hampshire and other Coastguard stations around the country, which will be able to offer mutual support during busy periods.

The modernisation programme will see the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) and 10 other Coastguard Operation Centres around the UK operate as an integrated network managing workload on a national basis. This means in a search and rescue operation there will be a much bigger and better support network available nationally to help Coastguards who may be dealing with multiple incidents at once.
Mortal Mindy's picture

In the Dog House

"Project Kraken is a national campaign to increase vigilance along the UK’s coastline and is part of the Government’s National Counter Terrorist Strategy.

On a national level they were targeting the illegal passage of cash, weapons, drugs, goods and people through British ports linked to criminal or terrorist-related activity.

Officers from North Yorkshire Police including Billy the drugs dog, Border Force staff from Hessle and Teesport, National Crime Agency, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) and the Harbour Master took part in a port related scenario at Scarborough."

Lol "Billy the Drugs Dog"

ooh some more:

About time ... ooh have we got a Harbour Master?

Have been so tempted to scrawl Quadrilla over those cranes (webcam) that would be far too naughty naughty , oh well.

Benefitz Betty's picture

RNLI : Area 51 : On Track?

Some clues :

"Workers groups say the new locks are too small for safe operations now that the canal can take ships three times larger than before..."

"The company claims it'll eventually mean small parcels will arrive at your house within 30 minutes of ordering them online...."

Oh, OK:

The new lifeboat is apparently 1 meter longer than the old one> > the new lifeboat house is over six times in volume than the sturdy old one ... an eyesore and has been a construction nightmare thanks to the inflated  Architectural design ... 

walls built in the wrong place: replaced

doors that don't fit: replaced

material sources : replaced

the South Bay's three currents : replaced

the sand on the beach : dropped

the RNLI shop : dropped

As a matter of fact we dropped commenting on it because it is hugely embarrassing for the Wam team... with £350K worth of copper adorning the walls and roof, the last piece fitted is wonky btw ... erm how long until the copper goes green?

IMV whoever designed this needs their head testing.

Hi Ho ... on Track to what exactly?

Thermal energy?

September is the new target.... unless it sinks.

tis a pity the crane went ... it made a nice weather vane.... thou did wonder if it was holding the structure up ... cos there is not much underneath ... pilings & perspex.

Oh and best not mention the dust.


PS the wonky copper bit is top left side of the beach facing pillar ... 1.5" .... no doubt they did that on purpose ;-)