The Department for Transport has revealed the 57 successful bids for the 2018 round of the Rescue Boat Grant Fund, worth £1 million. The scheme was launched in 2014 to provide £5 million over 5 years to independent search and rescue teams working on inland waterways.
Over the past 4 years, 201 bids have been successful – helping a total of 98 search and rescue charities. The money has already paid for 65 new boats in addition to launch vehicles, rafts, safety gear, and other costs to support rescue teams. This year’s pot will fund 15 new boats and a hovercraft.
Among the successful applicants was Salisbury-based Serve On, which is being given more than £19,500 to buy a boat and other life-saving equipment. Last Christmas, volunteers from the charity were patrolling the River Avon to highlight to students the dangers of drowning, when they spotted and rescued a 22-year-old man who had fallen into the river and was at risk of succumbing to the cold.
Wiltshire Search and Rescue team, which was praised by emergency services in July last year for its role in finding an 82-year-old dementia patient who had been lost in the New Forest for 3 days, also received funding.