Station work on schedule

ON AN EVEN KEEL: Work on the lifeboat station building is now under way.'Staff photograph

ON AN EVEN KEEL: Work on the lifeboat station building is now under way.'Staff photograph

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MONTROSE’S new £1 million lifeboat station is starting to take shape at its Wharf Street site and is due to be completed on schedule, the RNLI has revealed.

Work began on site at the beginning of the year with the construction of a new jetty at the end of which the Tyne class lifeboat Moonbeam will be moored. It will also allow for the rapid launch of the station’s D-Class inshore lifeboat, David Leslie Wilson, which will be moved from the station along the jetty on a wheeled trolley and launched into the water with a crane.

The project was delayed for more than a year while the RNLI negotiated with Scottish Water for the relocation of a sewer and utilities to clear the Wharf Street site.

Funding for the station was secured from a legacy of around £1 million left to the charity by Fife couple Hugh and Molly Brown. Mrs Brown died in 2006 and her husband passed away in 2009, leaving their estate to the RNLI. Contributions will also come from other legacies and donors, charitable trusts and the RNLI’s own funds.

The decision to move to the new site, which has been provided by Montrose Port Authority, from the harbour’s north quay was prompted by the increasingly unsuitable accommodation for the crew.

The new station will provide the best possible crew training facilities incorporating showers, toilet, an office and a garage for the inshore lifeboat. It will also include a shop which the charity hopes will, along with its more high profile site, improve public access.

Howard Richings, the RNLI’s head of estates management, said: “The volunteer crew and the shore helpers who assist with the launching of the lifeboat can be called out at any time of day or night, winter and summer. The shore facility building will provide them with modern changing and washing facilities as well as providing drying and storage facilities for the personal protective clothing worn by the crew.

“Training is becoming ever more important as both the lifeboats and the equipment used in search and rescue becomes increasingly more sophisticated. Ninety per cent of new recruits no longer come from professional maritime backgrounds. All lifeboat crew members must follow a continuous programme of competence based training and the new building will include a crew training room suitable for regular meetings and instruction sessions.

“This building is expected to be completed at the end of 2012 therefore allowing the Montrose crew and lifeboats to move to their new facilities.”