Pwllheli RNLI welcomes new Shannon Class lifeboat
The long wait is finally over. Pwllheli’s Shannon Class lifeboat RNLB ‘Smith Brothers’ arrived shortly after mid day yesterday, Sunday 18 April.
With blue skies all around and COVID restrictions still in place, Pwllheli’s Shannon class lifeboat arrived from the south, greeted by both the current all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Lilly & Vincent Anthony and the D-Class inshore lifeboat Robert J Wright.
The volunteer crew onboard the new Shannon Class lifeboat started their journey from the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole on Thursday, working their way around the coast as they bought their new lifeboat home to Pwllheli.
During the passage home, on the second leg of the passage from Salcombe to Newlyn, RNLB Smith Brothers was involved in it's first service, tasked by Falmouth Coastguard to assist with a fishing vessel drifting onto a lee shore. Once arrive on scene, a tow was quickly established and once Penlee Lifeboat arrived on scene, successfully transferred the tow.
RNLB Smith Brothers is the latest Shannon class lifeboat to built at the state of the art facility in Poole, the All-Weather Lifeboat Centre (ALC). The construction of the new lifeboat Smith Brothers started back in 2019 and has undertaken many stages of manufacturing at the ALC including the construction of the hull, combining the superstructure and the hull, paint and fit out, before finally arriving at Pwllheli yesterday.
The Shannon lifeboat will transform the way that RNLI volunteers at Pwllheli are able to save lives at sea. With the ability of reaching speeds of 25 knots, the volunteer crews will be able to reach their casualties quicker and hopefully return them back to safe haven in a shorter time that it currently takes with their 16 knot Mersey class lifeboat. To aid the Shannon in its ability to reach 25 knots, the Shannon has two, state of the art Hamilton jets as propulsion. These at maximum power can pump 1.5 tonnes of water per second from each water jet. Having the water jet as propulsion aid’s our volunteers to operate in shallow waters whilst having the manoeuvrability and precision to carry out delicate and intricate manoeuvres to get to a casualty vessel.
Clifford Thomas, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Pwllheli said:
‘As you can imagine, yesterday was a very exciting day here for all of us at Pwllheli RNLI, seeing the Shannon arrive and meeting our current lifeboat that’s served us for over 30 years. The Shannon has been something that all the volunteers on station have worked incredibly hard for and seeing her up close for the first time is incredible’
So, what’s next? The crew will now undergo intense training on the new lifeboat, learning new and adapting existing techniques with the aim that the new all-weather becomes operational in the next few months.
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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.