A LOCAL politician is seeking urgent action to help save lives at sea.

Assembly Member Joyce Watson is lobbying for fast, reliable internet to be delivered to the RNLI’s lifeboat station in St Davids.

It is the only UK station without fibre broadband, the charity has revealed.

At the Senedd on March 20, the Labour AM called on the Welsh Government to intervene.

She said: “Shockingly, it is the only RNLI station in the whole of the UK without fibre broadband.

“The current system can be unreliable, due to poor radio links, particularly in bad weather, when it is needed the most.”

Replying on behalf of the government, Julie James AM said: “Yes. Joyce Watson makes an excellent point, and it's a very important point as well. I'm certainly going to be raising the issue with both Openreach and with my officials to see if we can sort out some issues with them as soon as possible.”

Speaking after the Plenary session, Joyce said: “Over 330 lives have been saved by lifeboats based at St Davids, and many others have been assisted, yet this crucial service is being let down by something which many of us take for granted – fast, effective broadband.”

Richard Firth, Network & Telecoms Manager at RNLI said: “A reliable, fast broadband connection to our lifeboat stations is vital.

“To launch a lifeboat the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) currently dials a central number, enters a code which is translated by their Call Out Alerting and Communications System (COACS) which defines the lifeboat station to be called and the type of resource required. Their central computer systems translate the code into data and send the data out over their network to the lifeboat station where another system receives the message and issues the alerts and sends a paging message out to their crew members who react and head to the station and prepare to launch. Once the paging system receives the message it sends an acknowledgement of ‘message received and understood’ back to the MCA.

“In St Davids they have a highly unreliable link provided by radio but this is very unreliable and prone to fail in bad weather when it’s needed most. Therefore their launch message often fails to get through and they have to revert to using old dial-up modems, a technology from the 1970s. This can increase the time to launch by several minutes and seconds in the water can mean the difference between someone drowning and a successful rescue.”