Twelve people were dismissed, and they have since been replaced by new volunteers who are training alongside the remaining crew.
But the increasingly bitter dispute has rumbled on on social media, with an online petition accusing managers of putting lives at risk being widely circulated – and calling for them to be sacked.



It alleges the station’s new volunteers “haven’t a clue about the River Mersey or the Irish Sea” and calls for the sacked volunteers to be reinstated with immediate effect, “so that the station can once more operate in a safe and effective way”.
The RNLI told the ECHO it stands by its decision over the previous crew – and says it was the right thing to do to secure the future of the lifeboat station.
In a statement – which can be read in full below – a spokesman said: “We must not lose sight of the fact that those crew members were stood down because they refused to commit to the standards required of all RNLI volunteers – standards which are at the heart of the RNLI’s volunteer ethos. By declining to make this commitment, they ended their volunteer agreements with the RNLI and could no longer be part of the crew.
“We are very concerned by the wording of this petition, which contains incorrect information, false allegations and criticises dedicated volunteers who have been working incredibly hard since the reopening of the station in August to provide a safe and effective lifesaving service at New Brighton.
“The lifeboat station volunteer management team is working closely with both the crew and support staff from the RNLI and they have our complete confidence.
“Everyone is committed to rebuilding the station after a difficult few months and we are very proud of the way the crew and volunteer management team have risen above this unwarranted criticism and the continued attempts to undermine the good work they are all doing.”
Earlier this year the 12 dismissed volunteers said in a statement that they had “no issue” with training programmes and the problem lay with “individuals within the organisation”.



A protest over the decision which took place outside the lifeboat station saw campaigners unfurling banners including “Support our lifesavers”.
The RNLI now says a “small but vocal minority” are undermining the work of its new volunteers.
It told the ECHO the new crew members include mariners and emergency service workers.
The petition, titled “Reinstate New Brighton Lifeboat Volunteer Crew”, says: “We believe the Volunteers who have been sacked should be reinstated with immediate effect so that the station can once more operate in a safe and effective way, and once more be a proud operational station.”
The RNLI statement continued: “A successful recruitment campaign has resulted in some great additions to the New Brighton crew, including a number of full-time mariners and emergency service professionals. They are now training alongside the very experienced remaining crew, who have provided a lifeboat service in this area for many years.
"We have sufficient lifeboat helms and crew and are confident we have the right people in place to move the lifeboat station forward and provide a first class lifesaving service.
“The lifeboat station is not ‘dirty and unkempt’. We have been undertaking routine contractor maintenance and decoration recently and so there may have been days when the building looked untidy but this is purely as a result of the work taking place there.”
The charity said an incident in November in which New Brighton lifeboat’s tractor ended up underwater during a training exercise was being investigated.
The petition is here . 


RNLI New Brighton in action

RNLI statement in full:

We know the crew who were stood down or who resigned may be unhappy with the RNLI but we stand by our decision and are confident that it was the right thing to do to secure the future of New Brighton lifeboat station. We must not lose sight of the fact that those crew members were stood down because they refused to commit to the standards required of all RNLI volunteers – standards which are at the heart of the RNLI’s volunteer ethos. By declining to make this commitment, they ended their volunteer agreements with the RNLI and could no longer be part of the crew.
We are very concerned by the wording of this petition, which contains incorrect information, false allegations and criticises dedicated volunteers who have been working incredibly hard since the reopening of the station in August to provide a safe and effective lifesaving service at New Brighton.
The lifeboat station volunteer management team is working closely with both the crew and support staff from the RNLI and they have our complete confidence. Everyone is committed to rebuilding the station after a difficult few months and we are very proud of the way the crew and volunteer management team have risen above this unwarranted criticism and the continued attempts to undermine the good work they are all doing.
A successful recruitment campaign has resulted in some great additions to the New Brighton crew, including a number of full-time mariners and emergency service professionals. They are now training alongside the very experienced remaining crew, who have provided a lifeboat service in this area for many years. We have sufficient lifeboat helms and crew and are confident we have the right people in place to move the lifeboat station forward and provide a first class lifesaving service.
The lifeboat station is not ‘dirty and unkempt’. We have been undertaking routine contractor maintenance and decoration recently and so there may have been days when the building looked untidy but this is purely as a result of the work taking place there.
The lifeboat is not locked outside but is being properly maintained and cared for. The hovercraft, which has been moved to Hoylake, is also being well looked after. While it is being kept outside temporarily, it is covered when not in use and is receiving all the necessary maintenance and care. It has been used successfully on several services and our Hoylake volunteers have shown great commitment to maintaining the hovercraft service in the Wirral area.
The tractor was involved in an incident during a training exercise last week which is currently being investigated, but even the former crew understand that accidents will occasionally happen in an operational environment.
We want to assure people that public safety has not been compromised. The lifeboat station has been fully operational for the past 15 weeks, with only brief periods when cover was provided by neighbouring lifeboats, and the crew have responded each time they have been requested to launch by the UK Coastguard. During the incident off New Brighton last Thursday involving a sinking vessel, RNLI assistance was not required or requested by the Coastguard.
Those signing the petition may be doing so in good faith but we would appeal to the people behind it to reconsider the false information they are distributing. These incorrect and unfair statements are undermining and discrediting a team of dedicated volunteers who only want to be able to continue their vital role without the constant scrutiny and unfair criticism targeted at them by a small but vocal minority.

The petition in full:

We the undersigned hereby call upon the RNLI to sack the Management of New Brighton Lifeboat Station, and the Launching Authority and the deputy Launching Authority, whose management has brought the service into disrepute.
They have allowed the station to become dirty and unkempt, the Lifeboat to be left locked outside the station, whilst the Hovercraft which has been removed to Hoylake is in an awful condition, and now they have allowed the tractor unit to be damaged by being submerged.
The volunteers who have been brought in haven’t a clue about the River Mersey or the Irish Sea, and are therefore putting lives at risk. We believe the Volunteers who have been sacked should be reinstated with immediate effect so that the station can once more operate in a safe and effective way, and once more be a proud operational station.