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Lepe lifeboat charity Solent Rescue launches funding plea for new engines

A New Forest independent lifeboat has launched an appeal after having to replace the engines on its main boat.

Solent Rescue, a charity based in Lepe run entirely by volunteers and dependent on donations and grants, was forced to dip into reserves after spending £20,000 replacing the twin engines on its Arctic 24 lifeboat Solent Rescue One.

Operating since 1971, it is one of seven independent Solent lifeboat operators, and was recently made a “declared asset” status by the Coastguard, giving it the same standing as the RNLI when an emergency arises.

Solent Rescue's 24ft lifeboat needed a new pair of outboard motors
Solent Rescue's 24ft lifeboat needed a new pair of outboard motors

Charity secretary Bruce Mckoen said: “The engines, being 10 years old, have served us well, but a persistent issue with one of them has not been able to be rectified. This is despite the generous efforts of local engineers and the in-house maintenance team, and has led to this boat being taken off service, and unable to attend Coastguard-tasked emergencies.

The charity’s operations usually cost around £30,000 a year and recently money was raised to buy the boat crew a full set of dry suits.

“We are keen to get the boat back in service ready to respond 24/7 in time for the busy summer season, and have, therefore, taken the decision to replace the engines which, as a small independent lifeboat charity, has a significant impact on our finances.”

After much research they chose a pair of 140hp Tohatsu four-stroke outboard engines, with an attraction being that local supplier Tohatsu Marine is the Lymington-based UK importer and distributor for Tohatsu outboard engines.

Bruce said: “They have offered us a significant level of support, both initially and also the promise of ongoing support, and to a small charity with limited funds this provides a significant level of comfort for the future.”

To donate, visit: www.solent-rescue.org.uk/new-donate

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