Totnes MP Anthony Steen drew attention to a worthy cause yesterday:
"On 10 August last year, two girls in Hope Cove in south Devon were being swept out to sea and were at risk of drowning. The inshore Hope Cove lifeboat—a service in operation since 1890, which has saved 213 lives since the year 2000—was launched within a few minutes and the girls were saved. Unfortunately, it was against the instructions of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Hope Cove lifeboat.
Now, 3,000 residents have signed a petition to reinstate the lifeboat, which was taken out of service unilaterally by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency some three months ago against the wishes of everyone, including my constituents, those who use the boat, the crew of the boat and the many thousands of people who have enjoyed using the beaches of Hope Cove as tourists over the past few years. Salcombe is some 15 to 20 minutes away in good weather by sea. We need a lifeboat close at hand that can rescue people, as those two girls were rescued on 10 August—otherwise they might have drowned."
Although these are straitened times, it never ceases to amaze one to see which organisations struggle to get public funding and which are awash with it. The decision to cut this service may not have been purely about money, but it seems unlikely that under better circumstances people would conclude that you can have too many lifeboats.