RNLI announces important changes in Cardigan Bay
The RNLI has announced important changes to the lifeboat service provided by the charity in Cardigan Bay.
Pwllheli and Barmouth RNLI lifeboat stations will each be allocated a 25-knot Shannon class all-weather lifeboat whilst New Quay RNLI will be allocated a faster Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat (B class) to respond to those in trouble around the coast.
Both Pwllheli and Barmouth Lifeboat Stations’ new Shannon class lifeboat will replace their existing Mersey class lifeboats and will operate alongside their existing D class inshore lifeboats. The new 35-knot Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat at New Quay will replace the station’s existing Mersey class all-weather lifeboat and will complement the station’s D class inshore lifeboat.
All three stations (Pwllheli, Barmouth and New Quay) currently operate 17-knot Mersey class all-weather lifeboats. As all three Mersey lifeboats in Cardigan Bay are nearing the end of their operational life and the RNLI has taken the opportunity to look at the most effective combination of new, faster lifeboats for future lifesaving in the area.
New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat will not leave Ceredigion until the Shannon class lifeboats are stationed at Barmouth and Pwllheli and New Quay’s new Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat arrives for service. This is unlikely to happen before 2020. Pwllheli and Barmouth are due to get their Shannon class lifeboats after building work to modify the lifeboat stations is completed in the next few years.
The decision was made as a result of the RNLI’s five-year coast review* process where the charity decides the best use of its rescue assets within each area. The coast review considers the number and types of rescues carried out by each lifeboat, changing trends and water use within the area, search and rescue demands, costs, as well as future needs.
As part of the new coast review process, each lifeboat station involved is invited to feed into the review to help build an all-round picture for consideration.
George Rawlinson, RNLI Operations Director explains:
‘This is an important change for the RNLI in Cardigan Bay as we continue to improve the lifeboat service around the coast. The capability and standards of our lifeboats are constantly developing and improving; resulting in safer, more advanced lifeboats for our volunteer crews. The Mersey class all-weather lifeboats have served the area well, but as the Shannon class lifeboat is slowly introduced across the coast our volunteer crews will be able to respond quicker – and travel further – to help those in trouble at sea.
‘As a result of the improved capabilities of all of the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI have decided to allocate Pwllheli and Barmouth a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat. From 2020 New Quay RNLI’s service will change from an all-weather lifeboat to the quicker, more manoeuvrable Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat. It’s the RNLI’s fastest lifeboat within the fleet – with the ability to travel up to 35 knots when responding to callouts.’
‘Changing the type of lifeboat at a station is never a decision that’s taken lightly – we understand the attachment a crew feel for an all-weather lifeboat that has kept them safe at sea for many years. The decision to replace the all-weather lifeboat at New Quay was underpinned by extensive research of records going back to 2008. It concluded that services by New Quay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat could have been carried out safely and effectively by an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, supported by 25-knot lifeboats at neighbouring stations if required. We understand that this decision will be difficult for New Quay lifeboat station, however we are confident that this is the best rescue asset to service this stretch of coast as we look to the future in Cardigan Bay.’
*The RNLI coast review took into account extensive information from 2012-2015. The information considered included: detailed reports of launches and incidents carried out by the lifeboat stations, data from the National Water Incident Database (WAID) and a combination of open sources, as well as information gathered in face-to-face meetings and workshops at the lifeboat station both before and after the Coast Review visits to ensure any local knowledge or concerns were captured.
About the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat
The £2.2M Shannon class lifeboat, which was designed to replace the Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats, is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. Reaching top speeds of 25 knots, the Shannon is nearly 50% faster than the Mersey, giving crews the ability to reach and assist casualties faster when time is of the essence.
About the Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat
The £214,000 Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat is one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet, reaching top speeds of 35 knots. Although the inshore lifeboat is designed to operate in shallower water, the B class can handle fairly challenging open sea conditions – with the ability to operate in force 7 near gale winds in daylight and force 6 at night. The Atlantic 85 can carry four lifeboat crew as well as a number of casualties when responding to incidents on the coast.
Notes to editors
- Interviews are available with Matt Crofts, RNLI Lifesaving Manager, between 10am and 1pm on Thursday 22 June at New Quay lifeboat station.
- Welsh language interviews are available with Eleri Roberts, RNLI Public Relations Manger between 10am and 1pm on Thursday 22 June at New Quay lifeboat station.
RNLI media contact
For more information contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Public Relations Manager on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer on 07784 265469 or email Chris_Cousens@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
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.