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Lifeboats News Release

Girvan’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat 13-23 RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan officially named at station ceremony.

Coxwain/Mechanic Callum Govus christens new lifeboat as Alan Reid names her from podium with the now traditional Quaic of Whisky

RNLI/Nicholas Leach

Coxwain/Mechanic Callum Govus Christens Lifeboat

Saturday 5th May 2018 witnessed a new Search and Rescue era for Girvan Lifeboat Station, the RNLI and local area, where hundreds of VIP’s, guests and families, friends and the community from near and far lined Girvan harbour Quayside for the official naming and dedication service for Girvan’s New Shannon Class Lifeboat.

The Sun was shining in Girvan in this memorable day, being the 2nd Shannon Class lifeboat in Scotland and indeed the 1st on our West Coast, proceedings started with renditions of the National Anthems, ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Flower of Scotland which was accompanied by Ex-crewman and Pipe Major John Wilson, (John has uniquely piped at the arrival and naming ceremonies of the previous 2 lifeboats in Girvan also, this being the 3rd)

The ceremony was officially opened by Girvan Lifeboat Chairman John Warwick and a fantastic rendition of We are Sailing from the kids of Girvan Primary School.

Alan Reid who was present as the donor’s representative then handed the lifeboat into the care of Roger Lockwood CB, chair of the RNLI Scottish Council, where she was then accepted on behalf of the station and crew by Girvan’s lifeboat operations manager John Gourlay.

The Rev. Richard Moffat, led the service of dedication followed by Alan Reid officially naming RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan, this was mirrored with New Coxwain/Mechanic Callum Govus christening the lifeboat with the now traditional Quaich of Whisky, Lifeboat operations manager John Gourlay and the children from Girvan Primary School then performed ‘Home from the Sea’

The ceremony was then brought to a close by Robert McMaster former Girvan Lifeboat coxswain and now Area Lifesaving Manager, providing a lump in the throat and heartfelt address and note of thanks.

The new lifeboat then left the harbour and was piped back in flanked by Troon’s Trent class lifeboat, Portpatrick’s Tamar Class lifeboat and Barra’s Severn Class lifeboat in a unique moment with all 4 of the RNLI’s 25knot capable all-weather lifeboats side by side.

Shannon class lifeboats are built in-house by the RNLI, the £2.1 million cost of Girvan’s new lifeboat has been funded by the John & Elizabeth Allan Memorial Trust.

The Shannon class is the first of the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats to be powered by water-jets rather than traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable lifeboat in the charity’s fleet.

Mechanic/coxswain Callum Govus said ‘The new boat is faster and more manoeuvrable than the Silvia Burrell and the way she handles is very impressive. All this means that we’ll be able to reach casualties more quickly.

‘This is a huge leap forward in lifeboat design and will allow us to continue to do our work knowing that we couldn’t have a better lifeboat to go to sea with.

Lifeboat operations manager John Gourlay said ‘We’re very grateful to Professor Allan for funding our new lifeboat which will ensure that our volunteers can go to sea safely, in a state of the art lifeboat, for many years to come.’

The John & Elizabeth Allan Memorial Trust was set up in 1998 by Professor James Allan in memory of his parents. The trust has been able to fully fund two Shannon class all-weather lifeboats and two Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboats and continues to support the RNLI.

Professor Allan decided to name this lifeboat, RNLB Elizabeth & Gertrude Allan, after his sisters, who have also since passed away. Gertrude was born on 5 May 1927 so Saturday would have been her 91st birthday.

Professor Allan’s interest in the RNLI began as a child when his parents started taking holidays in Fraserburgh. He visited the harbour, saw the lifeboat and met the lifeboat crew. When they returned the following year he was delighted to discover that the crew remembered him and his father.

His passion for the RNLI grew from there and he started reading reports about the bravery of the crews in their attempts to save the lives of others. It encouraged him to want to help these men and women, and he decided that if he ever had the means, he would do his utmost to provide funding to the RNLI.

Girvan lifeboat station would like to thank everyone involved in making this day possible and for their continued support and are proud to carry on the values of our colleagues who 1st served in Girvan over 150 years ago with our state of the art Shannon Class Lifeboat.

Notes to editor

Water-jets allow the Shannon class lifeboat vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. When precision really matters, such as operating alongside a stricken vessel or navigating around hazards, they come into their own.

Capable of 25 knots, the new lifeboat is 50% faster than RNLB Silvia Burrell, the Tyne class all-weather lifeboat she will replace. Each Shannon costs £2.1million and although it will have an operational lifetime of 25 years, the life expectancy of the Shannon's hull and wheelhouse is 50 years.

After 25 years of service, each Shannon lifeboat will undergo a total refit where the machinery, systems and equipment will be renewed or replaced and the hull and wheelhouse reused – creating a new Shannon class lifeboat ready to save lives at sea for a further 25 years.

Once fully rolled out, alongside existing 25-knot Trent, Tamar and Severn class all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon will make up a third of RNLI all-weather lifeboats. At that point we will have fully phased out the older Tyne and Mersey class all-weather lifeboats and reached our aim of a 25-knot capable all-weather lifeboat fleet.

Measuring just 13m in length and weighing in at 18 tonnes, the Shannon is the smallest and lightest of our 25-knot lifeboats.

Its unique hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas. And shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves. An improved Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) allows the crew to operate and monitor many of the lifeboat's functions from the safety of five of the six seats. And as with all of our all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon is designed to be inherently self-righting, returning to an upright position in the event of capsize.

The Shannon follows a 45-year tradition of naming our lifeboats after rivers and stretches of water. This is the first time that the name of an Irish river has been used.

RNLI media contacts

Craig Sommerville, Girvan Lifeboat Crewmember & Press Officer, 07411276383, 01465714454,

Henry Weaver, , RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026,

Gemma McDonald RNLI Regional media officer for Scotland 01738 642956, 07826 900639,

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives. The RNLI is a charity registered in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

all 4 25knot capable all-weather lifeboats lined up, Girvans new Shannone, flanked by Barra's Severn Class, Portpatrick's Tamar Class and Troons Trent Class all-weather lifeboats

RNLI/Nicholas Leach

A moment in history
Crew of Girvan Lifeboat on and flanking the new lifeboat, 13-23 Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan

RNLI/Nicholas Leach

Girvan Lifeboat Crew during naming ceremony
Girvan Lifeboat 13-23 Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan in rough weather on passage from Poole to Girvan

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Girvan Lifeboat on Passage from Poole
Girvan Lifeboat 13-23 Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan in rough weather on passage from Poole to Girvan

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Rough weather during passage to Girvan with our new lifeboat
Donor Representative Alan Reid officially naming the lifeboat

RNLI/Nicholas Leach

Alan Reid on the podium

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland