PLANS to provide fire crews in Selby with a £50,000 river rescue boat have been postponed after it was discovered the craft was too small.

Selby’s fire crews have been receiving specialist training since the new boat was announced for the station last April.

The boat was originally expected to be available last summer, but when the new rigid inflatable arrived, it was found to be too small for the job.

Barry Martland, Red Watch manager, said: “We’re halfway through training. We’ve got two from each watch trained up as coxswains, and we’re going to end up with four per watch at the minimum.

“The boat wasn’t big enough, because we are working in tidal rivers, it wasn’t adequate for what we needed so it had to go back, be redesigned and changed. Hopefully we’ll be getting it at the end of January, or by mid-February.”

Crews spent time last year training in Nottingham at the Home Pierrepoint National Watersports Centre, and have also worked with other crews who already use boats in the region.

Once in place, the boat will be considered a national asset, and once it has been redesigned, could be called into action around the country in times of emergency.

Mr Martland said: “We’re further on now than we were three months ago. All things being equal should be up and running by the end of March.

“Because it’s made in sections and they can add and remove bits. It wasn’t fit for tidal work, and it’s a real fast-flowing section in Selby, that’s why they have had to redesign it. Once it’s on site, everyone should be trained on it, and we will have, hopefully, a month to train on it, get hands on and familiar with it.

“The lads who are trained as coxswains now will have to get hands-on experience with it in a local situation.”