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RNLI unveils new £1.5m water-jet powered lifeboat
RNLI chief executive Paul Boissier attended yesterday’s launch of the new Shannon class craft, that becomes the first waterjet-powered lifeboat to operate in UK waters.
Experts say the all-weather lifeboat will “shape the future of lifesaving for the next 50 years.”
Capable of an impressive 25 knots, crews will be able to reach casualties 50 per cent quicker than on the boats it replaces.
Mr Boissier, who watched the 16-tonne Shannon being put through its paces at Shell Bay, said: “Not only has the Shannon been developed to protect the volunteers as they save lives at sea, but to reach casualties faster and with improved manoeuvrability, where precision really matters.
“The roll out of the Shannon will complete our charity’s aim of having a fleet capable of at least 25-knots. We will be able to get their faster for everyone, no matter where you are around the UK and Ireland.”
Now the charity faces the tough prospect of financing more than 50 new Shannon class vessels, within the next decade, to replace the older boats it operates.
Projected figures show 50-plus Shannons will rescue more than 56,000 people and save the lives of more than 1,500.
The new craft is the smallest and lightest RNLI all-weather lifeboat, capable of being launched straight off the beach. It has its own tractor and trailer, costing a further £1m. The RNLI is currently fundraising for two Shannon craft and their launch and recovery vehicles to be based in Poole’s relief fleet.
Charity bosses have also confirmed Swanage will be one of the stations receiving the brand new lifeboat.
Mr Boissier said: “The Shannon class has been carefully developed by our in-house team of naval architects, marine engineers and operators with the safety of the volunteer crews at the very heart of the design.”