Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat station looking for new crew members

Gorleston lifeboat crew celebrate the news that VAT has been waived on fuel.Paddy Lee (near) Jason E

Gorleston lifeboat crew celebrate the news that VAT has been waived on fuel.Paddy Lee (near) Jason Edmonds, Panos Christophi (right) and Michael Newbury (centre) - Credit: Nick Butcher

Norfolk's busiest lifeboat station is looking for help to crew a third boat tasked with responding to calls on the Broads.

The Kingfisher came to Great Yarmouth and Gorleston via Oulton Broad after it was evicted from its home and struggled to find a new one.

Its posting was only ever meant to be temporary while the RNLI worked out where it should go.

But three years later and with nothing decided coxswain mechanic Paddy Lee, 49, has taken matters into his own hands.

Although the Broads boat has been exercised and is ready to respond to any emergency on the waterways, dealing with the business of training and transporting it to launch spots was a stretch for the life-saving service which already has two boats to man.

Attending a situation at Cantley could take four members out of action for more than four hours Mr Lee said, putting pressure on existing services.

To ensure that the service ran as smoothly as possible he wants to recruit around seven more crew who can dedicate themselves to the craft.

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Since it has been at Gorleston the Kingfisher has attended around 15 emergencies including a body recovery, but could potentially help out more.

As well as crew members Mr Lee is also looking for a driver who can tow it on a trailer to launch at locations all over Norfolk.

His main aim now was to ensure the service was fully operational by the busy summer season helping to take the strain from the existing 23-strong crew.

He said: 'We have had the Broads boat for a number of years, but were expecting to only have it for a year or two. We are already busy with what we do and we could be called to Cantley or anywhere on the Broads and it takes a lot of my crew away. It would help if it were run as a separate project.

'Anyone who came forward would be part of the crew and respond to calls, and if they decided to pull the boat from us they would be welcome to stay.'

At the moment the boat is in a yard in a steel shipping container after around six years in service at Oulton Broad.

'We inherited it,' Mr Lee said. 'It does not do a great deal of calls. It has been out on around 15 jobs since we have had it compared to around 60 a year for our inshore boat.'

Candidates need to be physically fit and will undergo a range of competencies.

The boat is not regularly exercised because of the time involved in hooking it up to a trailer and taking it to launch spots which all need to be kept an eye on to check they are open and accessible.

'It is an added process for us,' Mr Lee said. 'We are already the busiest station in Norfolk and this is something we would like more help with.'

To find out more call Mr Lee on 07771938638 from 8am to 8pm.