Work to build Hastings RNLI’s new all-weather lifeboat is now complete.
The new Shannon class lifeboat, named the Richard and Caroline Colton, has been launched and is undergoing sea trials at the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset.
If all goes to plan, the new boat is due to arrive in Hastings by mid-October.
The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet and i is almost 50 per cent faster than the Mersey class lifeboat currently stationed at Hastings. She is also the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets instead of propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet.
Measuring just over 13m in length and weighing in at 18 tonnes, the Shannon is the smallest and lightest of the 25-knot lifeboats, meaning she can be launched straight off the beach via a new and improved Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS), which will also be coming to Hastings. The new tractor-borne carriage allows a faster and safer launch and recovery time than the present Mersey system.
The safety and welfare of the RNLI’s volunteer crews was a key priority in the development of the Shannon class lifeboat. The hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas, while shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact.
The Shannon lifeboat also carries comprehensive medical equipment including oxygen and full resuscitation kit, Entonox for pain relief, large responder bag and three different stretchers.
None of this state-of-the-art design is cheap though, and the Shannon’s price tag comes in at £1.2 million.
The new lifeboat is to be named Richard and Caroline Colton after the late Richard Colton of Wellingborough and his late wife Caroline.
Richard 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 – and part of this has been used to fund the Richard and Caroline Colton at Hastings.
Richard’s legacy is also funding the new Shannon Launch and Recovery rig for Hastings, which will be named Richard and Mark Colton, after his late son.
Peter Adams, Hastings Lifeboat’s operations manager, said: “This is fantastic news for the town. The challenge for us now is learning to handle the very best that 21st century lifeboat technology has to offer.”