Sea Palling independent lifeboat crew expecting arrival of new �18,000 lifeboat

The crew of an independent rescue service on the north Norfolk coast is getting ready for the arrival of a new �18,000 lifeboat in the spring.

It comes after the Sea Palling independent lifeboat was damaged beyond repair after a collision with an unknown obstacle in the water during a training exercise in September last year.

Station officer Mick Clarke trialled the new 'Humber' lifeboat and said: 'We've managed to keep the previous engine as it was only three and a half years old.

'We've also retained the radios, aerials and A-frame.

'It's one of the better boats out there.

'The design of the boat has been going about since the 1970's. The sea-worthiness of it is fantastic.

'The team from Goodchild Marine, based in Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth, will be getting the boat ready for us and we hope to have it up and running before one of the bank holidays in May.'

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The new lifeboat will be able to seat up to 12 people and is 5.7 metres in length.

Station secretary and treasurer Linda Matthews said the crew had been 'very careful and sensible' when choosing a replacement.

She added: 'We look forward to getting back in service.'

During their time without a boat the crew has been undertaking additional training, including life-saving instruction with defibrillators with the British Heart Foundation.

Mr Clarke said the team were back 'fighting' and added: 'It's been challenging keeping the motivation there as we've had to undergo an inquiry, but now we are really looking forward to going back to service and saving lives.'

The inquiry was launched by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch into the incident which happened on September 1, 2011.

It is now complete and no further action will be taken.

The Sea Palling lifeboat covers the area between Eccles-on-Sea and Winterton-on-Sea and is funded solely by voluntary contributions.

• To help with volunteering, fund-raising or to donate please visit or write to Sam Sheldon, chairman, 3 The Hollies, Chapel Road, Sea Palling, NR12 0UQ.

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