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Montrose to receive the new Shannon class boat paid for by a £1.5m legacy

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Richard Smith
Divisional Media Relations Manager

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
    21/07/2011
  • Author: Richard Smith

Montrose to receive the new Shannon class boat paid for by a £1.5m legacy

Montrose has been chosen as the home for the first Shannon class RNLI lifeboat in Scotland following a RNLI coast review. This will make the volunteers at Montrose the first lifeboat crew in Scotland to operate this new class of lifeboat.

Ray Wilkie, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager at Montrose, explains: ‘We welcome the confidence of the RNLI charity trustees to place the latest class of lifeboat at Montrose which will enable the current RNLI volunteers to continue the noble tradition of saving lives at sea that began here in 1800.’

A Shannon class lifeboat will cost around £1.5m, and the new lifeboat at Montrose will be paid for by a generous legacy gift.

Ray Wilkie continues: ‘The fact that the new Shannon class lifeboat to be stationed at Montrose will be funded by a gift in a will is remarkable – and it has come as quite a surprise to us at Montrose lifeboat station. At the RNLI, we’re all extremely grateful for this most generous bequest.’

The legacy comes from the estate of Ruth Grant Smith with the new lifeboat at Montrose to be named after her late husband Ian Grant Smith. Mrs Grant Smith passed away in December 2005 aged 99. The couple had moved to Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire, after Mr Grant Smith retired from Brodies solicitors where he had been a partner.

The couple used to hold a luncheon party on New Year’s Day with the proceeds going to the RNLI. Ronald Gardiner, a recently retired solicitor of Brodies and a friend of Mr and Mrs Grant Smith, said the couple did not have any children and they were keen on supporting charities.

The Shannon has been designed in-house by RNLI naval architects who have harnessed cutting-edge technology to ensure the new lifeboat meets the demands of a 21st century rescue service and allow the charity’s volunteer crew to do their lifesaving work as safely as possible in all weather conditions.

The new lifeboat features twin water jets instead of conventional propellers, allowing it to operate in shallow waters and be highly manoeuvrable – giving the crew greater control when alongside other craft and when in confined waters. The water jets also reduce the risk of damage to the lifeboat during launch and recovery, or when intentionally beached. It will be the first RNLI all-weather lifeboat to run on water jets instead of propellers.

Its seats are designed to protect the crew members’ spines as much as possible from the forces of the sea in rough weather. Additionally the Shannon incorporates SIMS (System and Information Management System) which allows the crew to monitor the lifeboat from the safety of their seats, again reducing the likelihood of injury to the volunteer crew members during search and rescue operations.

With a top speed of 25 knots, the Shannon is faster than its predecessor the Mersey, and the current lifeboat at Montrose, a Tyne, that both have a top speed of 17 knots. The introduction of the Shannon will be the first step in enabling the RNLI to fulfil its operation commitment to ensure that all its operational all-weather lifeboats have a top speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are at risk.

The Shannon can be launched and recovered from beaches independent of slipways and harbours from a specially designed tractor and carriage, and is flexible enough to lie afloat as is the case at Montrose. Like all RNLI all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon is self-righting and it will return to an upright position in the event of a capsize during extreme weather or sea conditions.

The new class of lifeboat will undergo full sea trials later this year, with the first operational Shannon class lifeboats going on station in 2013. The exact date for the arrival of the Shannon at Montrose has not been determined.

Linda Aitken, the RNLI’s Legacy Manager for Scotland, adds: ‘The size of the legacy gift the RNLI is using to fund the Montrose lifeboat is unusual – more often we receive smaller gifts in wills – and we’re very grateful for all the gifts we are left, whether it pays for a crew member’s lifejacket, or as in this case, a lifeboat. Every legacy gift ensures the charity’s volunteers continue to save lives as safely as possible.

‘Anyone who is inspired by the lifesaving use of the legacy gift at Montrose, and would like to find out more about remembering the RNLI in their will, please call me on 01738 642999 or visit www.rnli.org.uk/legacy .’

Picture Captions: A picture of the new Shannon class of lifeboat, and the current Tyne class operated at Montrose.

Notes to editors • The Shannon class lifeboat was previously designated the Fast Carriage Boat 2 (FCB2).

• Montrose is one of the oldest stations in Scotland with a history dating back to 1800 when the first lifeboat was stationed in the town, prior to the formation of the RNLI.

• The newest class of RNLI lifeboat has been named the Shannon. It follows a 45-year tradition of naming the charity’s lifeboats after rivers or stretches of water. It will be the first time that the name of a river in Ireland has been used. (The River Shannon is 386km (240 miles) in length and is the longest river in Ireland).

• The current RNLI all-weather lifeboat classes are the Severn, Tamar, Tyne, Trent and Mersey.

• Previous RNLI all-weather lifeboat classes include the Arun, Brede, Clyde, Medina, Mersey, Rother, Severn, Solent, Tamar, Tyne, Thames, Trent and Waveney.

RNLI Media Contacts: Richard Smith, Media Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903. Email Richard_Smith2@rnli.org.uk

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland