All-weather lifeboat goes operational for two year trial at Red Bay RNLI
An all-weather lifeboat has officially been put on service and become a declared search and rescue asset for a two year trial period at Red Bay RNLI in County Antrim.
The Trent class lifeboat Henry Heys Duckworth has come from the existing RNLI fleet and will now operate alongside the station’s existing inshore lifeboat.
Prior to its arrival in Cushendall, the lifeboat was moored at Glenarm Marina for a short period to facilitate the completion of shore works at Red Bay.
Today’s fully operational status for the all-weather lifeboat follows an intensive period of training for the station’s volunteer crew members.
The Henry Heys Duckworth was first launched in 1996 and since then has launched 200 times and rescued 217 people.
The decision to place an additional all-weather lifeboat on the North Antrim coast follows an in-depth review by the RNLI, of lifeboat cover in Northern Ireland.
Since the announcement last May there has been a concentrated period of preparation for the lifeboat crew, which has included months of training and visits to the RNLI College in Poole.
There are currently five coxswains, four mechanics, four navigators and a group of all-weather lifeboat crew members trained and ready to respond to call outs aboard the Henry Heys Duckworth.
Last year, Red Bay RNLI launched 20 times and brought 18 people to safety. Of those launches, 11 services were in the dark. In all, some 160 service hours were spent at sea.
Speaking as the lifeboat officially went on service this morning, Andrew McAlister, Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said there was great excitement within the Cushendall community: ‘This is a proud day for everyone involved with Red Bay RNLI. The new lifeboat will allow us to provide lifesaving cover in all weathers and in challenging conditions up to 100 miles off the North Antrim coastline. To see this group of volunteers coming together and training with the all-weather lifeboat in recent months was wonderful and we are now fully prepared and equipped with the necessary training and skills to respond operationally alongside our inshore lifeboat.’
Developed by the RNLI in the early 1990s, the Trent class lifeboat is designed to lie afloat and is inherently self-righting. At sea, it is crewed by six all-weather lifeboat volunteers. It is capable of 25 knots and can carry up to 73 survivors.
The Trent carries an XP boat, an inflatable daughter boat with a 5hp outboard engine capable of six knots. She is used to access areas where the lifeboat cannot reach.
The comprehensive electronics include VHF and MF radios with DSC functionality, VHF direction finder, DGPS with electronic chart system and radar. Comprehensive first aid equipment includes stretchers, oxygen and entonox. Other equipment includes a portable salvage pump carried in a watertight container.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Paddy McLaughlin Red Bay RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 00447802308821 or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Ireland on 0876483547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 0871254124 or 018900460 or email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk
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