Hastings lifeboat station crew were thrilled to be told they will be getting a new all-weather boat after years of campaigning.
The Shannon class lifeboat, which is 50 per cent faster than the current fleet and features the very latest developments in design and technology, will arrive in two years time.
Hastings coxswain Steve Warne said: ‘It’s been a long time in the planning but we all are extremely pleased.
“The volunteer lifeboat crew will need to undergo extensive training to learn how to launch, operate and recover the new boat, but as we are continually training and refreshing our skills this will be business as usual.”
Following trials at Hastings earlier this month, it was confirmed both the new boat and its launching vehicle will fit into the boathouse meaning it should be delivered in the first half of 2019.
RNLI operations director George Rawlinson confirmed the allocation in a letter to Hastings lifeboat operations manager Peter Adams.
“Whilst our current Mersey class lifeboat has served us splendidly, the major technical advancement in terms of boat design and operating performance of the new Shannon class will ensure we can continue to fulfil our vital role of saving lives at sea off of Hastings and across Rye Bay,” Mr Adams said.
The Shannon class lifeboat costs £2m to build, with the launch and recovery equipment costing a further £1.5m.
The lifeboat will be capable of a speed of 25 knots – making it 50 per cent faster than the lifeboat she will replace – and will be the first modern all-weather lifeboat using waterjet propulsion rather than propellers.
“Waterjet engines give much better manoeuvrability, which is particularly important when working close to another vessel,” Mr Adams said.
“It will also operate in shallower waters than a boat with traditional propellers, so it’s a leap forward for the crew here at Hastings.”
The new Shannon lifeboat has been developed by the RNLI’s in-house team of naval architects, marine engineers and operators to replace the majority of Mersey and some remaining Tyne class boats as they reach the end of their operational life.
The majority of the 50-plus Shannon class lifeboats to be stationed throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland will be built at the RNLI’s new all-weather lifeboat centre in Poole, which is currently under construction.
Bringing all-weather lifeboat production in-house will save the charity £3.7m annually.
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