THE perilous waters of Corsham Lake and the Bybrook River will be made safer thanks to a dedicated crew of sailors who are set to patrol the lake on the town's first ever lifeboat.

The Mary Gabriel, a rother-class lifeboat, which will be launched today by the Corsham branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, headed by experienced coxswain John Maciver, following an increase in demand for a water patrol service.

The five-man crew look forward to making history in the town in the 25-year-old boat, which has been rigorously checked by engineers.

Mr Mciver said: "Corsham has waited a long time for its own lifeboat and now the day has dawned and we are ready for action. So the next time the Corsham Sea Cadets go out on Corsham Lake, they can be assured that a crew is ready to come to their aid if required."

The launch of the Mary Gabriel, which weighs 13 tonnes and can travel up to speeds of 9.2mph, is expected to be watched by dozens of supporters at the lake.

"I think it's a great idea," local resident Gerry Fitzpatrick said.

"Lots of people use both the lake and the Bybrook and you never know what sort of dangers lurk under the surface. Fishermen constantly flank the banks of the fast-flowing river which often floods, while the lake is regularly used by the sea cadets.

"Although they might not be called out as often as other crews around the country, it is reassuring to know that the people of Corsham are in safe hands."

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Corsham lifeboat or wants to volunteer their services should call coxswain John Maciver on 01225 812588.