Chepstow-based Severn lifesavers launch fundraising for new lifeboat
12:30pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
A CHEPSTOW charity is kickstarting a campaign to raise £150,000 for a new lifeboat.
Severn Are Rescue Association (Sara) vessel SARA 1 has served 15 years being battered by waves, with some of its 50- plus volunteers on board, in life or death situations.
Based at Beachley, the boat has had several re-fits in its lifetime, but is under threat from legislation relating to lifeboats’ standard of construction.
SARA area commander west, Mervyn Fleming, said: “If it came in and we were told that boat was unsafe we’d have to take it off the water and there would be no cover between Cardiff Bay and Gloucestershire.
“That shows the necessity of this campaign.”
In 2011/12, sister-papers the South Wales Argus and the Monmouthshire Free Press with kind-hearted locals raised £35,000 for a new lifeboat and SARA 3 has since taken to the water.
Last year the volunteer-run charity, the largest independent lifeboat service in the UK responded to 150 calls.
It provides lifeboat, land rescue, swiftwater rescue and flooding support services across the Severn Estuary, Gwent, south Gloucestershire and south Hereford.
Its team of 54 Chepstow-based volunteers are often called out by the emergency services to assist in operations for missing people.
Each year, Beachley needs to raise nearly £50,000 to keep it afloat, in operating and other costs.
Just to keep the doors of SARA’s four stations open costs a total of £100,000 each year.
Mr Fleming said the charity is relying on the public to increase the security of its lifeboat fleet, like their fantastic support for SARA 3.
“SARA 1 is as effective as she used to be but does need updating to a modern vessel.
“After a while the fibreglass of the hull starts to fatigue and the construction of lifeboats has come under closer and closer scrutiny.
“A new boat would increase safety, flexibility and the security of understanding we are using something modern.”
To give to the campaign, visit www.sara-rescue.org.uk/support-us/donate