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Praise for Babcock as final RNLI Tamar class lifeboat is completed

About the author

Image of Tamsin Thomas

Tamsin Thomas
RNLI Public Relations Manager at South West .

Start quoteThe quality of lifeboats produced at Babcock has been consistently fantasticEnd quote

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Tamsin Thomas

The final RNLI Tamar class all-weather lifeboat to be fitted out by Babcock in Plymouth has been formally accepted by the charity.

It marks the end of a contract which has seen the company fit out all 27 Tamar’s produced for the RNLI fleet.  The last one, which was accepted by the RNLI yesterday (Tuesday 21 May) will be based in Wales.

Yesterday was a day for celebration and thanks as the team at Babcock handed over the 27th Tamar to the RNLI at their base in Plymouth. Roy Barker IV will be stationed at The Mumbles lifeboat station and was accepted in to the RNLI fleet by Michael Vlasto, Operations Director for the charity. Mr Vlasto has formally accepted every Tamar except one, since production of this class of all-weather lifeboats began.

At a formal presentation Babcock and the RNLI exchanged commemorative gifts and Michael Vlasto spoke of the valuable commitment the company and its workforce had shown to the RNLI contract that saw Babcock staff put in 100,000 hours of work a year over the last decade;

‘The quality of lifeboats produced at Babcock has been consistently fantastic. Many of the staff here report that this has been the best project they’ve ever worked on and that proves that the enthusiasm we have within the RNLI has got under their skin too.  The lifeboats produced in Plymouth, and that includes 27 Tamar class all-weather lifeboats and six Severn class all-weather lifeboats, have to date launched 2,224 times, rescuing 3,023 people and saving 87 lives. I’m very grateful to everyone at Babcock and thank them for providing the RNLI with quality lifeboats that continue to save lives at sea.’

Chris Tomkins, Director and General Manager of Devonport says;

‘This has been a prestigious contract and it has been a pleasure and an honour to work for the RNLI.  There has been a great deal of job satisfaction for the staff who have been involved and I’m delighted that we have produced such high class rescue vessels. I believe we have demonstrated that we can be trusted to deliver, which is our motto. I’d like to thank all at the Plymouth RNLI lifeboat station and Coxswain Dave Milford in particular, for their help with the sea trials and the Babcock team who have continued to maintain high standards right to the end of the contract.  I wish good luck to the RNLI for the future.’ 

Future all-weather lifeboats will be produced in-house by the RNLI at a purpose built facility that is to be constructed at the charity’s Poole HQ in Dorset. The All-weather Lifeboat Centre, to be built on land already owned by the charity, will save over £3M each year once up and running.  

RNLI notes to editors

• Please find attached the following pictures, all of which should be credited to RNLI/Nigel Millard (more pictures are available from the RNLI news centre):
*The first and last Tamar class all-weather lifeboats to be fitted out by Babcock for the RNLI, at sea off Plymouth.  The first Tamar is the Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson, which is a relief lifeboat providing cover when Tamar’s go away for refits.  The newest Tamar is the Roy Barker IV that will be stationed at The Mumbles in Wales.  
*Chris Tomkins, Director and General Manager of Devonport, presenting a commemorative plaque to David Brookes, RNLI Engineering and Supply Director
*The last Tamar class all-weather lifeboat to be fitted out at Babcock, Roy Barker IV that will be stationed at The Mumbles in Wales.

• Babcock has fitted out all 27 Tamar class all-weather lifeboats produced so far for the RNLI. They have also fitted out six Severn class all-weather lifeboats and carried out moderations and repairs to various other lifeboats in the RNLI fleet.  The workforce at its peak totalled 128 and most of the workers have now been phased out to other jobs within the company. 
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Tamsin Thomas, RNLI Public Relations Manager for the south west, on 07786 668847 or email Tamsin_Thomas@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 237 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 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland