Emergency services / Pontoon could improve access to Aith lifeboat in emergencies

Aith lifeboatAith lifeboat. Photo: Shetland News

THE RNLI is keen to install a floating pontoon at the Aith pier to improve access to the village’s lifeboat and speed up its deployment in emergencies.

A planning application has been submitted for a 24m by 4m pontoon, which could also make it easier for casualties to be removed from the lifeboat.

Consultants Mott MacDonald said in the application that the existing concrete faced pier for berthing, which comes with an L-shaped jetty head, can make manoeuvring the lifeboat difficult – especially in bad weather.

“Access to the lifeboat is via 1m wide concrete steps from the pier deck level down to approximately mean low water springs level,” it wrote.

“Access for lifeboat crews on and off the lifeboat can be difficult at various states of tide and weather conditions and removal of casualties especially on stretchers can be challenging at times.”

A floating pontoon on the inside face of the pier, however, should improve access.

“The pontoon will be angled to the existing inside berth and this will simplify manoeuvring and improve the time required to enter and leave the berth especially at times of extreme weather conditions,” Mott MacDonald wrote.

“The pontoon will have gangway from the pier deck to the pontoon deck which will greatly improve crew access and access for removal of casualties especially those carried on stretchers.”

The Aith lifeboat station has been operation for over 80 years and is the most northerly RNLI outpost in the UK.

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