It’s a month tomorrow until Lytham St Annes welcomes its new lifeboat – and the pace of training for the crew has been stepped up in readiness for the new craft.
As the Shannon is driven by jets rather than propellers, the four coxswains at the St Annes station have been undergoing a specialist water jet course.
Coxswain and second mechanic Gary Bird was joined by second coxswain John Atkinson and deputy second coxswains Tom Stuart and Nick Glassbrook on the week-long course at the RNLI training centre in Poole. Dorset.
So that the station was not left without a coxswain while all four were away, Fleetwood lifeboat’s second coxswain/mechanic Steve Carroll was drafted in to look after matters.
John Atkinson said: “It was an exciting week. The Shannon is superb and so responsive for close manoeuvring when going alongside another vessel.
“With her extra speed, at 25 knots half as fast again as the lifeboat she is replacing, the new boat has the potential to save more lives at sea.”
A Shannon launch and recovery system is already at the South Promenade boathouse for training of the tractor drivers and shore crew.
A relief Shannon class lifeboat was used for two days of trials and Roy Black achieved the first launch with the new system by a Lytham St Annes driver.
The new £2.2m Shannon (pictured), named Barbara Anne, is to due to replace the current lifeboat Her Majesty The Queen on February 25. It will leave Poole on February 21 and arrive via Brixham, Newlyn and Holyhead.