Stop Ofcom billing the RNLI for its comms

I gather there are moves afoot to charge the Royal National Lifeboat Institution commercial rates for using its communications equipment. If, like me you think this isn’t right, please sign this petition on the issue.

In a country where the Lifeboats are the one essential rescue service manned by volunteers and supported wholly by charity, I think this proposal is an unnecessary blow to a great institution that should be dear to the heart of every boat owner.

What proposition am I asking you to sign? It’s simple and harmless enough: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Protect the RNLI from paying licence fees for using Maritime radio frequencies.

The story from the petition organisers is that Ofcom wants to bring ‘market forces’ into maritime and aviation communications, and that RNLI will have to pay £250,000 a year. Apparently, smaller search and rescue charities fear they may have to close. See a report published a few weeks ago by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

I’m hoping that none of this is true, and that if it is Ofcom will come to realise that what it wants to do simply isn’t politically acceptable while the Lifeboats remain dependent on charity alone.

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