Fleetwood RNLI coxswains gear up for their new lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Four coxswains from Fleetwood RNLI are spending this week undergoing vital training at the RNLI College in Dorset to prepare for the arrival of their state-of-the-art new Shannon class lifeboat.

The Shannon is the charity’s first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of propellers and so the coxswains, who could all potentially be in command of the lifeboat and her crew during life-saving rescues, must become familiar with how the vessel operates before they can begin using it around Morecambe Bay and off the Fylde coast.

Gary Randles, Fleetwood RNLI Coxswain, said the training will help ensure the transition from the station’s current Tyne class lifeboat to the new Shannon is as smooth as possible.

He explained: ‘Everyone at Fleetwood lifeboat station is very proud that we are receiving a new Shannon and a huge amount of planning and training has already gone into making sure we are ready for her arrival in June.

‘The Shannon is an impressive vessel, and a very different lifeboat to the Tyne class William Street which we have operated at Fleetwood since 1989. The Shannon is much faster and the fact it is jet propelled means it behaves differently from a boat with propellers but once you’ve mastered that, it is much more agile and easy to manoeuver in shallow water.’

Joining Gary at the RNLI College in Poole are Mechanic Steve Carroll, Emergency Coxswain Paul Ashworth, 2nd Coxswain Tony Cowell and Crewman Matt Haynes.

They are being put through their paces on a relief Shannon, practicing difficult manoeuvers, high-speed work and recovering casualties as well as becoming familiar with the high-tech electronic systems which allow the crew to control a lot of the lifeboat's functions from the relative safety of their seats.

Fleetwood’s new Shannon class lifeboat is due to arrive at the lifeboat station on 26 June. She has been funded in part by a generous legacy left to the charity by Kathleen Pierpoint and will be named Kenneth James Pierpoint in memory of her brother.

Next week, crew members who serve as mechanics will be at the RNLI College for specialist training which will allow them to maintain the Shannon’s two engines and waterjets. Following the new lifeboat’s arrival at Fleetwood, there will be a couple of weeks intensive training for the crew before the lifeboat is put on service and the William Street is withdrawn.

RNLI Picture caption
The photograph shows Kenneth James Pierpoint during recent trials..
Credit: Steve Lowe, RNLI Tenby

Notes to editors
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 50% faster than the lifeboats it replaces – ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.

RNLI Media contacts
For more information please contact Ken Harcombe, Fleetwood RNLI Volunteer Press Officer, on 07970 197195 / ken_harcombe@rnli.org.uk   Alison Levett, RNLI Public Relations Manager, North, on 07786 668912/ alison_levett@rnli.org.uk  Or, Clare Hopps, RNLI Public Relations Officer North, on 07824 518641/ clare_hopps@rnli.org.uk

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 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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