Fleetwood RNLI volunteers welcome their state-of-the-art new lifeboat on Sunday

Lifeboats News Release

Fleetwood RNLI volunteers are preparing for a new era of lifesaving with the eagerly-anticipated arrival of their Shannon class all-weather lifeboat on Sunday 26 June.

The £2.2M state-of-the-art lifeboat, named Kenneth James Pierpoint, will arrive by sea at 1.14pm – or 13.14hr, which is the operational number of the new lifeboat. This follows a five day journey from the lifeboat charity’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset, which gives the Fleetwood RNLI crew on board time to familiarise themselves with the vessel.

Fleetwood is only the second RNLI lifeboat station in the north of England to receive a Shannon, which is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of propellers. Designed by an in-house RNLI team, it is the most agile all-weather lifeboat in the charity’s fleet and has been developed with the safety and welfare of RNLI volunteer crews as a key priority.

The Shannon replaces the station’s current RNLI Tyne class lifeboat, William Street, which has operated at Fleetwood since 1989. In that time, the lifeboat has carried out 528 rescues, saving 542 people.

Dave Eccles, Fleetwood RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said everyone at the station has been looking forward to the vessel’s arrival for months.

He added: ‘While we will miss the William Street, which has served our station incredibly well for 27 years, the arrival of our new lifeboat will bring about a new era of lifesaving for Fleetwood RNLI.

'The Shannon is capable of speeds of 25 knots, almost 50 per cent faster than our current lifeboat, and is more manoeuvrable. That means our crew will reach casualties more quickly and effectively, increasing the chance of saving their lives.’

The new lifeboat has been funded by a generous legacy left to the charity by Miss Kathleen Pierpoint from Altrincham, Cheshire, who died in 2012. She requested the RNLI use her gift to provide a lifeboat in memory of her brother Kenneth, a young RAF pilot killed in a World War Two flying accident in 1942. 

Crew members have already undergone specialist training to prepare for the new lifeboat but following her arrival at Fleetwood, there will be a further period of intensive training before the lifeboat is put on service and the Tyne withdrawn.

Martin Jaggs, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, said: ‘The volunteer crew at Fleetwood have already shown a huge amount of dedication, spending time away from their families and in some cases taking holiday from work in order to fulfil the training requirements that come with a new all-weather lifeboat.

'Their commitment and hard work mean the transition to this new generation of lifeboat will be as smooth as possible and I know they are all very much looking forward to the enhanced lifesaving capability the Shannon will bring to the Fylde coast.’

Picture captions
Fleetwood’s new all-weather lifeboat, Kenneth James Pierpoint. Credit RNLI/Steve Lowe

Video clip
Downloadable video an RNLI Shannon class lifeboat in action: http://bit.ly/1S8NvJC  
When: Sunday 26 June, 12.45pm

Media opportunity

When: Sunday 26 June, 12.45pm

Where:  Fleetwood RNLI Lifeboat Station, The Esplanade, Fleetwood, FY7 6DN

What: Film and photograph the arrival of Fleetwood RNLI’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, Kenneth James Pierpoint. The lifeboat will arrive at 1.14pm but should be visible at sea from around 1pm.
Crowds are expected on the Esplanade, where the Band and Drum Corp of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire) will welcome her to Fleetwood. Lifeboats from neighbouring lifeboat stations at Blackpool, Lytham, Morecambe and Barrow will join Fleetwood’s current lifeboat to escort Kenneth James Pierpoint home.
RNLI lifeboat crew and other volunteers at the lifeboat station will be available for interview.

Contact: To attend or for more information, contact Alison Levett, RNLI Public Relations Manager, North, on 07786 668912 or at alison_levett@rnli.org.uk

Shannon class lifeboat - key facts
• The Shannon class is the RNLI’s next generation all-weather lifeboat (ALB) and is the most agile in the RNLI fleet.
• The Shannon is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets and not propellers, increasing manoeuvrability.
• Capable of 25 knots the Shannon is up to 50% faster than the lifeboats it replaces – ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.
• For more information about the Shannon, go to: http://bit.ly/1UU0LUj  

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.