Shannon Class Lifeboat for Leverburgh RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The first Shannon class Lifeboat in the Western Isles will be based at Leverburgh RNLI.

Leverburgh RNLI’s new Shannon class Lifeboat under construction – bow view

RNLI/James Smerdon

Leverburgh RNLI’s new Shannon class Lifeboat under construction – bow view

Leverburgh RNLI Lifeboat Station was established just five years ago, initially for a trial period of one year. Following a successful year of training and familiarisation for the new volunteer crew, the decision was taken to make the station permanent in the Spring of 2013. The station is currently home to RNLB The Royal Thames, one of the RNLI’s Mersey Class Lifeboats. While the Royal Thames has served Leverburgh and her previous stations well, the boat is reaching the end of its working life. As part of the RNLI’s commitment to replacing all Mersey Class Lifeboats, the station is now delighted to confirm that they are to receive a new Shannon Class Lifeboat.

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet. It is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of traditional propellers, making her the RNLI’s most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet – even in the shallowest of waters. These features make the Shannon particularly suitable for serving the often-challenging Sound of Harris, and beyond. The new Lifeboat is also capable of reaching speeds up to 25 kts, which will mean that volunteer crew can reach casualties, in a shorter space of time. When a life is at risk, every second counts.

Leverburgh’s new Shannon is currently being built, “in-house” by the RNLI in Poole. Various sections of the boat are in the process of being fitted out by RNLI engineers. (See pictures attached). The current timetable for the completion and delivery of the Lifeboat will see her commencing sea trials early in 2018. Shannon-specific crew training will take place during the month of March, and it is hoped that the Lifeboat will make its way north and arrive in Leverburgh around Saturday 21st April. It is anticipated that the boat will enter service during the first week in May. The current Lifeboat, RNLB The Royal Thames, will stay in Leverburgh while crew familiarise themselves with the new Shannon, to ensure there is cover at all times. A naming ceremony for the new Shannon will be held sometime during the summer of 2018.

Leverburgh RNLI’s Honorary President, Hamish Taylor, said, on behalf of the station:

Over the five and a half years of its service, and with over 80 service calls already carried out, Leverburgh Lifeboat Station, its operating systems and crew have steadily matured in skills and experience, so the imminent arrival of the new boat is a natural development which will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the station. Throughout this time also, the communities of Harris and North Uist have taken the Station to heart and have been consistently and practically supportive. Without such support the station would be a lonely and isolated one, so we extend our heartfelt thanks to these wide communities which the station seeks to serve.

The arrival of the Shannon in Leverburgh not only brings improvements in life-saving capabilities, it also brings with it new opportunities to get involved in the work of the RNLI. Leverburgh RNLI are seeking to add to their current volunteer crew numbers, including the recruitment of an additional volunteer coxswain. The role of the ALB Coxswain is to be on call to command the lifeboat on service, exercise, passages and trials and lead the crew when ashore, maintaining competence under Competency Based Training and contributing to the operational efficiency of the station, lifeboats and equipment. This is a fantastic opportunity to take on a leadership role within the crew, gain access to specialised training and make further contribution to your local station. Interested parties must fulfil Competency Based Training pre-requirements for this role and have good local maritime knowledge, leadership and communication skills. Applicants must also live or work within 10 minutes’ drive of the station and be between 17 and 65 years of age. Applications for general crew positions are also invited. Anybody interested becoming a crew member or coxswain should contact the Leverburgh Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Ross, on or 07899 786574.

Further details about the new Shannon for Leverburgh will be released in the new year, including the name of the boat and an additional build update.

All photos should be credited to: RNLI/James Smerdon.

Volunteer Coxswain advert:[alb]-leverburgh-333327.html

Volunteer Crew advert:[alb]-leverburgh-333325.html

RNLI media contacts:

Catriona MacLennan, Leverburgh RNLI Press Officer: or 07827 994354

(For interview opportunities, in Gaelic and English, contact Catriona.)

Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Officer for Scotland: 01738 642956 or

RNLI Press Office: 01202 336789

Leverburgh RNLI’s new Shannon class Lifeboat under construction – close up

RNLI/James Smerdon

Leverburgh RNLI’s new Shannon class Lifeboat under construction – close up
The water jets which will propel the new Shannon class Lifeboat, providing increased speed and manoeuvrability.

RNLI/James Smerdon

The water jets which will propel the new Shannon class Lifeboat, providing increased speed and manoeuvrability.

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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