JLA has plans to operate an inshore RIB in months

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The organisation has operated with a single vessel – the all-weather Sir Max Aitken III – since it launched on 12 April last year.

Andy Hibbs, the crew’s coxswain, has always stated ambitions to also secure an inshore RIB for rescues closer to shore, in shallower water and near rocks and cliffs.

And members of the association recently went to the Solent to trial two boats, with the hope of having an inshore vessel in operation within months.

‘We have trialled a couple of RIBs and we have another one or two to look at,’ said Mr Hibbs, who added that the boat could cost between £200,000 and £240,000. We are waiting for the weather to be bad so we can take them out, as there is no point trialling them when it is flat calm.

‘We always said we wanted at least one RIB and we would like to have it before the spring. One day we may also have another RIB in a different part of the Island,’ he added.

The JLA, which formed after a number of crew members split from the RNLI three years ago, is also hoping to secure a new all-weather lifeboat in the coming years.

As previously reported, the organisation wants to ‘piggy back’ on a major project to replace France’s lifeboats. They say that being included in this major ship-building project for a number of French stations would ultimately be cheaper than having a vessel custom-made.

‘We are waiting for the new designs to come through, but we have been told we can be part of that project,’ said Mr Hibbs.

The Sir Max Aitken III – a Tyne-class lifeboat which was built in the 1980s – was called out on 16 occasions during last spring and summer.

The vessel was bought following a fundraising campaign, and Mr Hibbs said he was confident the organisation would have enough funds to purchase a RIB.

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