The crew at Lytham St Annes Lifeboat is celebrating after RNLI headquarters announced 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 RNLI trustees have approved that the station should receive the new £2m boat.
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 – 50 per cent faster than the Mersey currently stationed at St Annes.
To reduce costs, the Shannon is the first class of boat to be built entirely by the RNLI.
It was designed in the charity’s purpose-built all-weather lifeboat centre at Poole.
In-house naval architects and marine engineers designed the boat with the aim of ensuring the safety and welfare of the RNLI’s volunteer crew. Through its prototypes, the hull shape has been constantly modified to minimise ‘slamming’ that occurs to the lifeboat in the heavy seas – especially such as those on the Fylde coast.
The Shannon also has a revolutionary method of launching and recovering involving a vehicle designed in partnership with off-road vehicle developer Supacat.
It will enable the lifeboat to travel much faster across the beach than at present.
This technology however comes at a price. The current cost of the Shannon is in the region of £2m and the supporting launch and recovery vehicle is an additional £1.5m – to be raised through donations.
The lifeboat is due to be delivered in 2019 and has, as yet, not been named.
Martin Jaggs, 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 ideal.
“It will mean 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 at the moment.”