Invergordon RNLI welcomes the new all-weather Shannon Class Lifeboat to station
The wait for the volunteer crew in Invergordon finally came to an end on Sunday when they welcomed their new Shannon class lifeboat to the station for the first time
After the delay as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the state-of-the-art Shannon class vessel arrived at her new permanent home of Invergordon on Sunday (1 November).
In a fitting welcome to the town, five of the stations volunteer crew, with a combined service to the RNLI of over 125 years, sailed her into Invergordon. She arrived at precisely at 1:37pm; the time equivalent to the vessels number 13-37. And the significance of the number is extra special to this lifeboat as contained within it are the names of over 9,000 loved ones in a new fundraising initiative for the charity.
Arriving in the Cromarty Firth for the first time, the Shannon was escorted by the stations current all-weather Trent class lifeboat ‘Douglas Aikman Smith’ carried a slow pass of the towns waterfront with the Trent leading the way to her new berth in the town’s West Harbour with water canon display from the local Global Energy Group tug ‘Strathdee’.
The RNLI latest class in the all-weather fleet, the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat coming in at £2.1million was seen as a fitting replacement for the stations current Trent class lifeboat which is nearing the 25 year life service, and a step towards the RNLI’s goal of an all 25knot fleet. The Shannon is powered by the vast twin Hamilton water jets as opposed to more traditional propellers giving it more increased manoeuvrability and the ability to operate in shallower waters, ideally suited to Britain’s vast and rugged coastline.
With a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, the self-righting lifeboat is ideally suited for offshore searches or equally rescues in calmer shallower waters, her twin Scania 650hp engines provides enough power to tow large vessels – and her waterjet technology allows her to manoeuvre in shallow waters, much easier than with traditional propeller seen on our current lifeboats
The team at Invergordon as a whole were delighted to be given the news that a Shannon lifeboat would be the replacement for ‘Douglas Aikman Smith’ and were further delighted and humbled when it was announced that the Shannon would also hold the first Launch a Memory campaign decal where for the first time, supporters could apply to have their loved one's name printed in the letters and numbers on the hull of lifeboat, which will save lives at sea for years to come.
The Shannon carries the name ‘RNLB Agnes AP Barr’ and holds RNLI 13-37 on her hull, depicting the 13m of the vessel length and 37 indicating the 37th Shannon class lifeboat built.
Agnes A P Barr in memory of the main donor Agnes Arthur Paton Barr, who left in excess of £1m to the RNLI to fund a lifeboat on the east coast of Scotland. Mrs Barr was an RNLI member with a long family history of support for the RNLI, having funded numerous projects in Scotland during her lifetime, passing away at the age of 97.
The Invergordon Launch a Memory campaign was hailed a success where over 9500 names across her port and starboard decals are now on display, triggering a tremendous amount of support, love and genuine interest in the journey of RNLB Agnes AP Barr from her build stages at the RNLI ALC (All-weather Lifeboat Centre) to the acceptance into the fleet bell ringing on Tuesday 21 January where she was lowered into the water for the first time, her sea trials and now the journey which covering her 640 miles to the North of Scotland by which took place by road instead of by sea, which was decided upon to avoid the risk of inadvertently causing large gatherings and spreading the virus.
Andrew Murray, RNLI Coxswain at Invergordon Lifeboat Station, says: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Agnes A P Barr to Invergordon – especially as it will have the names of over 9,500 loved ones who are being commemorated in this wonderful way. It’s very humbling to see the special decal on our new Shannon-class. The volunteer crew at Invergordon Lifeboat Station feel honoured to receive something which means so much to so many people and will last for years to come. We feel privileged to be able to launch with people’s memories by our side, while helping those in need in all weathers.”
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.