Plymouth RNLI hosts naming ceremony for Atlantic 85 Lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer team at Plymouth RNLI lifeboat station will be holding a formal naming ceremony for their new Atlantic 85 lifeboat Annabel E Jones on Saturday 15 September.

Plymouth's new Atlantic 85 lifeboat and her predecessor the Atlantic 75, with the all-weather lifeboat in the background

RNLI/John Baldry

Plymouth's new Atlantic 85 lifeboat and her predecessor the Atlantic 75, with the all-weather lifeboat in the background
The lifeboat arrived at the station in July 2018 and has been funded by a generous donation from a legacy left by Annabel English Jones. Annabel always had strong links to the sea – born in 1923 in South Shields her father worked as a shipwright and both grandfathers were mariners. She travelled extensively for both her work and pleasure, with her qualification as Doctor of Commerce specialising in Russian Contract Law leading her to often work in Russia and eastern Europe. She loved living close to the sea and her retirement years were spent in Bexhill on Sea in Sussex.

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat is one of the fastest in the RNLI’s fleet with a top speed of 35 knots. Although a lifeboat designed for rescues close to shore, the Atlantic 85 can handle fairly challenging open sea conditions too – force 7 near gale winds in daylight and force 6 at night.

The Atlantic 85 replaces the stations’ long serving Atlantic 75 lifeboat Millennium Forester who has helped to save countless lives at sea since her arrival to the city in 2003. The Annabel E Jones joins Plymouth’s all-weather lifeboat Sybil Mullen Glover with a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 300nm at max speed.

Chris Westall, Lifeboat Operations Manager at RNLI Plymouth says: ‘I think I speak for everyone connected with the station when I say we are very proud to receive this new Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat. We now have the latest and finest rescue craft which will enable our volunteers to serve the coastline and estuaries in and around Plymouth. We are extremely grateful to all those who have donated towards this lifeboat and the station.’

The new Atlantic 85 arrived in Plymouth at the end of July as part of a well-established RNLI tradition known as a cross over ceremony, whereby the outgoing lifeboat is thanked for her service while passing the new boat as she is welcomed into the station.

Dave Milford, Coxswain at the Plymouth’s Lifeboat Station says of this tradition: ‘Each boat becomes a part of the station – when a lifeboat leaves us it is like saying goodbye to an old friend. She has served us well. We put a lot of trust in our boats, and they keep our volunteers safe during some very difficult rescues.’

The naming ceremony will start at 11am in front of the Waterfront Bar Restaurant and will conclude with the volunteer crew launching the lifeboat where she will proceed at slow speed along West Hoe to give the local community and visitors a chance to view her.

RNLI/John Baldry

The new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat

RNLI/John Baldry

The Atlantic 75 and 85 lifeboats

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.

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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.