RNLI. New boats

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The RNLI announces new Lifeboat for Lytham St. Annes

Tuesday, December 2nd 2014 00:00

The crew at Lytham St. Annes were jubilant this week when they received a letter from RNLI headquarters stating that they are to receive the charity's latest and most advanced class of all-weather lifeboat - the Shannon

The station received a letter from the RNLI's Director of Operations, George Rawlinson, stating that the Trustees of the RNLI have approved that the station should receive one of the new class of lifeboat - the Shannon. 

The Shannon was developed by the RNLI and is the most agile in the charity's fleet being the very first to be propelled by water jets and not propellers. The use of the water jets allows the boat to work in shallower waters making it easier to effect rescues here on the coast. It also reduces the risk of damage when launching and recovering.

The Shannon is capable of 25 knots which  is 50% faster than the Mersey currently stationed at St. Annes. To reduce overall costs the Shannon is the first class of boat to be built entirely by the RNLI in a purpose built All-weather Lifeboat Centre at Poole.  The boat was designed by in-house naval architects and marine engineers at Poole with the paramount aim of ensuring the safety and welfare of the RNLI's volunteer crew. Through it's prototypes, the hull shape has been constantly modified to minimise the slamming that occurs to the lifeboat in the heavy seas. These are the types of sea encountered off the Fylde coast and it should mean a less stressful journey for the crew on their services in bad weather.

The Shannon also has a revolutionary method of launching and recovering involving a vehicle designed in partnership with Supacat, a developer and builder of off-road vehicles.  This has an integrated cab and trailer which can pull the boat from where she was beached towards the cab and then spin the whole vessel around on the trailer ready to be launched bow first into the sea. It also will enable the lifeboat to travel much faster across the beach than the system in place at the moment. 

This technology however comes at a price. The current cost of the Shannon is in the region of £2million and the supporting Launch and Recovery vehicle is an additional £1.5million. This is a lot of money to be raised by a charity funded only by voluntary contributions from the general public and generous businesses.

The lifeboat is due to be delivered in 2019 and has, as yet not been named.

Martin Jaggs, the Coxswain of Lytham St. Annes Lifeboat, said; 'Our Mersey class lifeboat Her Majesty the Queen has served us well and we will be sorry to see her go, but we are excited about receiving a Shannon which seems ideally suited to our station. It will mean that the volunteer crew will need to commit to a lot of extra training however  the new boat will certainly allow us to reach casualties at sea a lot quicker, and more safely than we can at the moment.'