Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station prepares for the arrival of their new lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

The Sea Charity’s new £2.2 Million Shannon lifeboat Barbara Anne is due this Sunday

RNLI/Steve Lowe

New Shannon Class Lifeboat for Lytham St.Annes out on trials

After further crew training she will take over from the Station’s Mersey class all-weather (ALB) lifeboat Her Majesty the Queen which has looked after life saving in the Ribble Estuary and Irish Sea since her arrival in 1999.

The new lifeboat brings 21st century technology to the area. She is larger, faster, more manoeuvrable and safer than her predecessor and therefore has the potential to save more lives at sea.

Driven and steered by water jets instead of the conventional propellers and rudders, the Shannon can turn in her own length or stop almost instantly, making going alongside a casualty to take off casualties a much safer option.

The increased speed of 25 knots as against 17 knots for the Mersey mean that casualties can be reached sooner in desperate situations where conditions are rapidly deteriorating.

The Shannon is designed for the safety of the crew, as well as rescued survivors, with better seating and full seat belt safety harnesses. The deign of the vessel’s electronics (called SIMS – Systems Information and Management Systems) with a display at all seats mean that crew members do not need to get up to change seats if changing roles in severe weather. A press of a button will allow the functions required to control the vessel to be transferred between the seating positions.

Launching the Shannon reduces any risk as no crew members are required to be on deck during the launch from the carriage. With the Mersey five have to be on deck while launching. The new Shannon Launch & Recovery System (SLARS), the first re-design of launching in 200 years, allows all crew to be inside the wheelhouse and the vessel is launched by the Coxswain at the press of a button.

Recovering the Shannon is also improved. The Shannon using the new SLARS system means that no Shore Crew have to “go to sea” and the new boat can power further up the beach due to her water jets.

While still an excellent boat, the Mersey at 26 years old is beginning to reach the end of her operational life. Despite regular updates and modifications over the years, the possibilities to further improve her have come to an end; hence the new boat is needed. The Barbara Anne will be available 24 hours a day, every day of the year to save lives with her volunteer crew for the next 25 to 30 years.

The Her Majesty the Queen will remain on station for a number of weeks before handing over to the Barbara Anne once training is complete. It is not known yet what will happen to the Her Majesty the Queen but the most likely scenario is that she will join the relief fleet of lifeboats.

Notes to editors

  • Lytham St Annes lifeboat station was founded in 1851
  • Since then 9 medals for bravery have been awarded to Volunteer Crew members.
  • To learn more about the station, go to: or

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact David Forshaw, Lytham St Annes volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07904 685 206 [] or Peter Whalley, Lytham St Annes volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07872 026395 []

or Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Manager, West on 07786 668829 or []

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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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