“We do exactly the same job as the RNLI,” Birch tells me, “but we’re less known.” But if the job expected of them is the same, the challenges of being an independent lifeboat station can be much greater. Birch and his crew of 22 are responsible not only for saving lives, but also for the upkeep of their boat, their equipment, training and raising enough funds to meet their annual running costs. These are about £20,000 a year, excluding renewing equipment, boats and property. They are currently fundraising £160,000 for a new boathouse. As operations manager of Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat, Birch’s situation requires a range of skills not normally associated with lifesavers, including a constant sales mentality.
The underlying economic point being made is that these independents get crowded out by the RNLI. Fundraising and so on, “We already gave to the RNLI” etc.
Shrug, it’s what happens when there’s a dominant organisation, especially one that’s well funded.
However, the fun in this is that the article is a really impressive example of crowding out. that thing which The Guardian stoutly insists never does happen when government moves into an area.