AN MP is backing the campaign to retain or upgrade a lifeboat station’s all-weather lifeboat following the announcement it would be withdrawn.

The Tamar class all weather lifeboat will be withdrawn from Walton and Frinton lifeboat station and replaced with a smaller D-Class inshore lifeboat in September 2024

Clacton MP Giles Watling shared a video to his social media discussing the campaign and his thoughts on the situation.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Time's Up - Walton and Frinton RNLI's Tamar class all-weather lifeboat is to be replaced.Time's Up - Walton and Frinton RNLI's Tamar class all-weather lifeboat is to be replaced. (Image: RNLI/Stewart Oxley)

Mr Watling said: “The RNLI carries out important work up and down our coasts saving lives and rescuing people in need.  

“I am deeply concerned that removing the Tamar class boat from Walton & Frinton, which includes the loss of ten capable seamen who volunteer to run it, risks undermining this important work.

“I am seeking a conversation to get some answers for the people of Clacton, and hopefully, help the RNLI to understand what a mistake they’re making by scrapping vital equipment.”  

Mr Watling plans to meet with Baroness Vere, Minister for Aviation, Maritime and Security, to raise his objections to the plan of scrapping the existing lifeboat and to seek a solution that enables it to remain in Walton & Frinton.  

Whilst the Class D Dinghy is capable of responding to serious calls, Mr Watling believes that the Tamar class lifeboat can respond not only to these but also to graver situations.

Mr Watling added: “Withdrawing the Tamar to replace with the Dinghy threatens to reduce not only the capacity but also the quality, of the responses that the RNLI carries out from Walton and Frinton.  

Ross Barraclough, RNLI Head of Region North and East said: "The Walton and Frinton crew and local lifeboat management team have been involved in open discussions about the future of the lifesaving assets at Walton and Frinton lifeboat station for some time.

"The RNLI has also engaged with the local council to explore viable options for a site to house a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat or B class lifeboat at Walton and Frinton but there is nowhere appropriate in the area that would make financial sense for the charity and make best use of our supporters’ donations.

"Our charity can still deliver the same high-level lifesaving service with a D class lifeboat. The D class is designed to operate close to shore in shallow waters and is also an ideal lifeboat to tackle challenging rescues along this part of the Tendring coastline. It’s an incredible boat and has saved over a thousand lives across the RNLI.

"The reason that we are making the change is driven by the infrastructure issues with Walton Pier, which facilitated the need for a life-saving effect review.

"Ultimately, the modelling shows that having a D-Class lifeboat at Walton and Frinton and an all-weather lifeboat at Clacton, improves the life-saving effect for the whole stretch of coast.

"We’re going to give the crew at Walton and Frinton a new D-Class and improve training – they’ll be better placed to respond to casualties in and around Walton and Frinton."