A row between the RNLI and the volunteer crew members at New Brighton station on the Wirral has resulted in it being closed for several weeks.
The New Brighton lifeboat station at Wallasey on the Wirral is now “temporarily off service”.
It comes after 12 volunteer crew members stood down following a dispute over a new training programme and the station’s management.
The RNLI said they had “refused to commit to the standards required of all RNLI volunteers”, which meant New Brighton could not “operate safely in the short term.”
The station will be closed “for several weeks”.
Over the next few weeks, the charity will work with the station’s remaining volunteers, offering “enhanced training and support, and creating a more positive environment for the crew”.
It aims to reopen the lifeboat station for a period in August.
The RNLI stressed that the lifesaving service in the Merseyside and the Wirral will continue to be carried out efficiently by RNLI lifeboats stationed at Hoylake, West Kirby and by local lifeguards.
The area will also continue to be served by Mersey Marine Fire 1 and the RNLI is working closely with HM Coastguard through this interim period.
The RNLI claimed the station has been affected by a dispute over several issues.
These included the introduction of a new training programme, the station’s management, the outcomes of an investigation into various issues with the lifeboat crew, the attempts to address deficiencies at the lifeboat station and breaches of the RNLI’s Volunteer Code of Conduct.
The charity will now be looking to recruit new lifeboat crew to the station.
The RNLI divisional operations manager, Lee Firman, said other options had been explored before it was decided to temporarily close New Brighton.
“The RNLI has a duty of care to its lifeboat volunteers and to ensure that they feel safe, accepted and can volunteer within a welcoming environment,” he explained.
“They should also expect to receive the right training, skills and equipment to meet the challenge of saving lives at sea. This is what we will be working with the New Brighton crew to achieve,” said Firman.
The RNLI said it expected all lifeboat crew to abide by its codes of conduct and to ensure their skills and training are kept up to date.
It said where this is not the case, particularly where negative behaviour is involved, the RNLI will not hesitate to intervene and help crew become a coherent, safe and efficient team.
“New Brighton has a proud history of lifesaving and we are confident that, with the goodwill of the volunteers, the lifeboat will soon be back on service for the people of Merseyside and the Wirral,” said Firman.
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