"Good news for all those who use the Solent"

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The RNLI have announced their Cowes base will move, after their bid for the Old Custom House in Watch House Lane, Cowes, was accepted subject to contract.

Cowes RNLI currently operates from a site in Shepherds Wharf Marina, Medina Road.

However the charity have been looking for a new base in the Isle of Wight boating centre since last summer.

Michael Vlasto, RNLI Operations Director, says: “The decision to put in a bid was a difficult one in the current economic climate, but the RNLI always puts operational priorities first.

“Since last June we have been looking for a new and permanent home for Cowes RNLI Lifeboat Station that would give our volunteer crew faster access to the Solent and enable us to improve our overall operational efficiency.
 
“We also wanted a lifeboat station that would provide our volunteers with the necessary training and crew facilities – and now we have found it. This was a one-off opportunity to acquire the right property in the right location, something that occurs very rarely in Cowes.”
 
Andrew Freemantle, RNLI Chief Executive, adds: “This is very good news for Cowes and all those who use the Solent.

“The total cost of the RNLI’s bid is confidential, but it was only made possible by a significant contribution from the Island Sailing Club in return for access rights.

“If all goes well, plans will be drawn up later in the year for the necessary modifications to the building, which will enable our B class Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to be housed, launched and recovered.”
 
Work on the modifications, subject to planning approval, could start in 2010 but is subject to the availability of funding and overall RNLI priorities.

He says the current priority for fundraising on the Isle of Wight remains the appeal for Bembridge, where a 15-month project to build a new lifeboat station and slipway began in March 2009.

www.rnli.org.uk