New safety regulations may force an Isle of Wight lifeboat station to limit its rescues to inshore waters.

New safety regulations may force a lifeboat station to limit its rescues to inshore waters. Freshwater Lifeboat’s 8.8m cabin RIB ‘Spirit of West Wight’, which operates up to 30 miles offshore, no longer meets updated health and safety requirements, and the station fears a looming cash crisis may prevent its replacement.

“If we go back to using an open boat it would restrict what we can do”, said the independent station’s president, “we would still be able to cover the Back of the Wight, but only within a distance of three miles offshore”. It costs £30,000 a year to keep the boat running but, because the resale value of the present boat has been wiped out by the new regulations, this leaves a shortfall of £100,000.

Applications for extra funding by the Lottery and the Isle of Wight Charitable Trust have already been turned down.