The Shannon prototype is currently sailing around the Irish Sea, along the coasts of Wales and Northern England.
On her way round, she is stopping off at a number of lifeboat stations that currently have Mersey or Tyne class lifeboats so that the station crews can familiarise themselves with the new boat and gain an idea of what to expect.
The rough weather launch and recovery trials will soon be taking place at Hayle in Cornwall. This should be her final major test.
- At the beginning of May, the Shannon prototype is due to return to Poole before heading off to the boatyard for some work. Areas for improvement have been noted and this will be the first of two opportunities to start updating the prototype.
- Early July, we are due to officially accept the prototype as the very first Shannon class lifeboat in the fleet. This will be ahead of her naming ceremony later in the month.
- Following the ceremony the boat will be heading back to the boatyard for a live self-right test. This is when all the valves put in place to prevent water intake during capsize are tested. It will be the most realistic self-right that has been attempted so far with the lifeboat's engine running. The only difference to the real thing is that there will be no crew on board.
- It is at this stage that the boatyard will also finish the final modifications to the boat. Once modifications on the lifeboat are complete, there should also be the opportunity for it to be used to train crew at the stations, in preparation for receiving their own Shannon class lifeboat.
- By the end of September we're hoping this Shannon lifeboat will be fit to join our relief fleet.
There are a number of Shannon class lifeboats currently in production.
They are expected to be built before lifeboat production and maintenance moves to our new All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole.
As long as everything goes to plan, they will be coming off the production line at a rate of one boat every two months.
The first will be going to Dungeness Lifeboat Station at the end of the year and the next is due at Exmouth Lifeboat Station in early 2014.
All new boats will be put on station following completion of a trial period lasting approximately two months.
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