BOSSES at a lifesaving charity have confirmed an under-threat lifeboat will not return to Walton and Frinton but they are looking to accelerate the implementation of its replacement. 

Walton and Frinton all-weather Tamar class lifeboat had been at risk of being replaced since 2022 when drastic changes to the RNLI's Essex fleet were announced.

The controversy has even resulted in key volunteers at the station, including operations managers Stewart and Philip Oxley, leaving.

An RNLI spokesman said: “Action has been taken and several volunteers have left Walton and Frinton RNLI after reports of safety concerns led to a fair and impartial investigation into an incident on March 3.” 

Despite efforts to force a U-turn, the life-saving ALB vessel was filmed departing Titchmarsh Marina, in Walton, before eventually docking in a habour located in Poole, in April.

At the time, campaigners were unsure if the vessel had departed for good or could one day return to the site, but bosses have now said it will not return. 

The station is now said to be preparing for the arrival of a new D-Class Inshore lifeboat, which was scheduled for late 2024 but will now be accelerated.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Boots - New boots under the volunteer press team's desk at Walton and Frinton (Image: RNLI/Nathan Williams)Boots - New boots under the volunteer press team's desk at Walton and Frinton (Image: RNLI/Nathan Williams) (Image: RNLI/Nathan Williams)

The charity has said crew members are now prioritising its arrival in order to get the station back on service as soon as possible, “as there is no longer a sustainable number of volunteers to crew the ALB”. 

James Hill, lifeboat operations manager at Walton and Frinton, said: “The crew is eager to restore a lifesaving service from Walton and Frinton.

"With training dates in the diary already, we aim to be fully operational as an inshore lifeboat station ahead of schedule. 

“It has been a difficult time recently, but we are committed to looking ahead and continue contributing to the RNLI’s mission of saving lives at sea in what is both the charity’s 200th year and our 140th at Walton and Frinton.” 

In the absence of the ALB, which has currently left the Walton and Frinton station without a boat, Tendring’s shore is being covered "effectively" by the Clacton and Harwich RNLI stations. 

The charity is also working with Tendring Council to get a new Shannon Class boat in service at the Clacton station as soon as possible.

Campaigners previously slammed the decision to remove the all-weather boat prior to the arrival of a replacement - a move which bosses said was made due to safety concerns.