Hastings' Shannon moves a step close as new launch rig is completed
When the new Hastings RNLI lifeboat arrives it will come with a brand new launch and recovery system. This rig has now been completed, and the first pictures have arrived from the factory in Wales.
Weighing in at 37 tonnes, the rig can carry an 18-tonne Shannon over any kind of beach that Hastings has to offer. It can drive straight into big surf and safely launch the lifeboat in up to 2.4m of water. Not only that but, in the event of breakdown with an incoming tide, the watertight tractor can be completely submerged in depths of up to 9m before being retrieved once the tide has receded.
But in calm conditions, the tractor doesn’t even have to get wet, its hydraulic carriage tilts to allow the lifeboat to run down the slope into the water. The lifeboat is launched at the touch of a button and the whole system requires less manual handling by shore crew volunteers, making for a safer and more efficient launch and recovery.
Then comes the really clever bit … When it’s time to recover, the beached lifeboat is winched bow first onto the tractor’s unique turntable cradle, and is then rotated 180º, ready to be launched again within 10 minutes, much faster than the launch and recovery system for Hastings existing Mersey class all-weather lifeboat – which takes on average 25 minutes.
The new rig will be named the Richard and Mark Colton, after the late Mr Richard Colton of Wellingborough and his late son Mark. Richard passed away in March 2015 and left an extraordinary legacy to the RNLI of two of the world’s rarest Ferraris. The classic cars were sold at auction for an extraordinary £8.5 million – making the vehicles the most valuable items ever left to the RNLI – and part of this gift has been used to fund both the all-weather lifeboat and the new launch and recovery rig.
The rig is due to arrive on 20th August and training will begin straight away ready for the the arrival of the new lifeboat on 13 October. Peter Adams, Hastings RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said. ‘The RNLI can’t save lives at sea if we can’t get in to the water. This impressive piece of kit will mean that our new lifeboat will be able to launch in all weather and at any state of the tide. The challenge now is for our volunteer shore crew to get fully trained up and ready for the lifeboat’s arrival in October.’
RNLI Media Contacts
Clive Mayhew Hastings Lifeboat Press Officer 07711 673138 firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer 07785 296252
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.