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Swanage RNLI’s new Shannon class lifeboat becomes officially operational

Lifeboats News Release

Swanage RNLI’s Shannon-class lifeboat has officially gone on service as the town’s all-weather lifeboat.

The station’s volunteers have undergone two days of intense assessments with the RNLI and as of 9pm last night (Wednesday 20 April), the George Thomas Lacy lifeboat was made operational, and the Mersey class lifeboat was taken off service.

This momentous occasion has come after months of preparation by all the volunteers at the station. Following the lifeboat’s arrival on Friday 8 April the crew have been training daily to ensure they are all competent using the new state-of-the-art equipment. This week they were assessed by the RNLI’s Operations team, who were delighted to pass them all out and make the new Shannon class lifeboat operational.

Nigel Jones, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, said: ‘It gives me great pleasure to announce that as of 9pm last night, the lifeboat 13-13 George Thomas Lacy officially became Swanage RNLI’s lifeboat and went on service. We are tremendously impressed with the way all the volunteers at Swanage RNLI have committed so much time and effort to training over the past few weeks, and thank them for their dedication.’

Three long standing members of the Swanage lifeboat crew also decided this significant day would be the day they retire from the crew.  Coxswain Martin Steeden retires after nearly 40 years of service, 16 years as coxswain.  Colin Marks, assistant mechanic, steps down after 23 years of dedicated service and Jon Deare, head launcher of the all-weather lifeboat retires after almost 28 years.

Dave Turnbull is the new coxswain of the Swanage lifeboat.  Having joined the crew in December 1992, Dave has already served over 23 years as volunteer crew, 17 of those as a lifeboat mechanic.

The former Mersey class all-weather lifeboat Robert Charles Brown has now gone off service and in the next few weeks a number of Swanage RNLI crew members will take her on a return passage back to the RNLI Headquarters in Poole. The trip will be the last for coxswain Martin Steeden who has officially retired, now the Shannon has become operational.

RNLI media contacts

For more information contact Becky Mack, volunteer lifeboat press officer at Swanage RNLI, at or 07812 558487 or Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or

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 Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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