Lifeboat history will be made in Hastings next Saturday (October 13) with the arrival of the town’s new RNLI all-weather lifeboat.
Lifeboats from Rye and Eastbourne, along with the Hastings Mersey class lifeboat, and the D class inflatable, will steam along the seafront from the old bathing pool site to arrive off the lifeboat station at noon.
For members of the public it will be a once in a generation chance to see a flotilla of four RNLI lifeboats escort the Shannon class lifeboat to her new home.
The Shannon will then put on a 20-minute display of her capabilities to the east of the harbour arm, before landing at Hastings for the very first time at 12.30pm.
The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet, and being capable of 25 knots it is almost 50 per cent faster than the Mersey class lifeboat currently stationed at Hastings.
She is also the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.
As with all RNLI all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon class is designed to be inherently self-righting, returning to an upright position in the event of a capsize.
The new boat can also be launched straight off the beach via the new and improved launch and recovery system which has already arrived on station.
After being recovered from the beach bow first, a turntable in the carriage rotates the Shannon 180º ready for her next launch. Meaning casualties can be reached sooner and our volunteer launching crews are better protected.
The Shannon’s price tag comes in at £2.2 million, all of which comes from voluntary donations.
The new boat is named Richard and Caroline Colton. Richard Colton passed away in March 2015 and left an extraordinary legacy to the RNLI of two of the world’s rarest Ferraris.
The classic cars were sold at auction for £8.5 million, making the vehicles the most valuable items ever left to the RNLI, and part of this has been used to fund the new Hastings lifeboat.
Richard Colton’s legacy is also funding the new launch and recovery rig, which will be named Richard and Mark Colton, after his late son Mark.
Peter Adams, Hastings Lifeboat’s operations manager said: “This will be a great day for the town. The RNLI has shown its faith in us by allocating a brand new Shannon lifeboat. We hope that as many people as possible will come down to the beach on Saturday and welcome the new boat.”
The current Mersey will stay as the operational lifeboat at Hastings, being used for all call-outs, until the crew have been fully trained and passed out as competent to handle the new lifeboat at which point the Sealink Endeavour will leave, as yet to an unknown fate.
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