A dedicated inshore lifeboat cannot be justified for a Cornish holiday port, according to the RNLI.
Fishermen and the harbour authority in Mevagissey claim the service is needed because of growing numbers of visitors and increased boating activity.
They believe they should not have to rely on the lifeboats which are based seven miles away at Fowey.
But the RNLI said crews from Fowey have responded successfully to 46 incidents in the area in the past five years.
The charity claims there is adequate cover at the moment, but has said Mevagissey can put its case at the next review of services in 2007.