Coastguard cuts u-turn

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Boat owners in Whitby have welcomed a government u-turn on plans to partially close the coastguard station which covers Whitby and district’s coastline.

It was announced on Thursday the Government has had a re-think on proposals to cut 10 of the 19 coastguard stations around the UK.

This would have meant the Humber coastguard, based in Bridlington, would only be operating during daylight hours – much to the anger and concern of local sea-farers.

Every day there are deep-sea fishermen, anglers and chartered skippers, pleasure boat owners and the Whitby lifeboat steaming in and out of Whitby waters, all overseen by Humber.

Skippers and the sea-going public got together and put their objections forward with hundreds of responses being submitted to the Government.

The House of Commons Transport Committee warned they had “serious concerns that safety will be jeopardised if these proposals proceed”.

Howard Locker, skipper of the Emulate III trawler, said in Whitby “if it floats, it goes out to sea” and there was no way three stations covering the UK would have been enough.

He added: “Somebody has come to their senses, they are playing with people’s lives these politicians and that is my opinion.

“Somebody has kicked them up the backside and they have seen you can’t do things like that.

“It is certainly good news for the locals.”

Paul Kilpatrick, skipper of Sea Otter II and chairman of Whitby Charter Skippers’ Association, actively campaigned against the cuts at Humber.

He told the Whitby Gazette yesterday: “It is absolutely fantastic news.

“This is a massive, rugged coastline and there is a hell of a lot of boating activity. This coastline needs a coastguard 24/7.

“There were petitions on-line and I put a few on angling websites and it got a massive response and it has prevailed.

“It is absolutely brilliant news and everybody is happy with the decision.”

However, while the changes to the proposals mean the Bridlington base will stay, six of the 29 jobs there will be cut.