Shannon Launch and Recovery System arrives in Pwllheli ahead of training
Pwllheli RNLI has taken delivery of an impressive kit which will launch the station’s new Shannon class lifeboat when she arrives. Pwllheli RNLI also took delivery of a new tractor which will launch the station’s inshore lifeboat.
With training commencing in a couple of weeks’ time, the volunteer crew were thrilled to welcome the arrival of our SLARS ( Shannon Launch and Recovery System ), along with the tractor for the inshore lifeboat. These are vital pieces kit which will enable the crew to launch their Shannon Class lifeboat and D Class Lifeboat.
The new SLARS unit features much improved facilities for the operator and will enable the volunteer crew to launch and reach casualties quicker. The current Talus and Mersey carriage has a speed of approximately 7mph, where the SLARS can track the whole rig to the tideline at approximately 10mph.
Coupled with an impressive recovery and turnaround time, once the Shannon has reached the shore, after an exercise or service, it can be recovered and turned around to be available for service again in 10 minutes. This is thanks to the highly sophisticated and unique turntable cradle, which winches the Shannon onto it and then spin’s the whole cradle a whole 180 degrees. When comparing this to the current 45 minutes with the current Mersey class, this enables the RNLI as a charity, to be back and ready for service once more in less than half the time of the current setup. All in all, the SLARS system is an impressive piece of kit, and is one component out of many, that will enable us to continue saving lives off the coast of Pwllheli for many years to come.
As well as the new SLARS, and equally as important, the New Holland 3045 for the D Class has also arrived on station. Quite a change from the current setup at Pwllheli, it features a 4WD system, a winch to the front of the tractor and towing point’s to the front and to the rear, giving flexibility on how the shore crew decide to launch the D Class.
As you might have seen in the photographs, the SLARS unit at Pwllheli has been named ‘John Llywellyn Mostyn Hughes’. Mr Hughes was passed away in 2017 and left a significant share of his estate to the RNLI and in recognition of his bequest part of his generous gift has been used to fund the SLARS for Pwllheli in its entirety. He was a lifetime supporter of the RNLI and when he was young boy had a connection with Moelfre Lifeboat Station and the Coxswain at the time, Richard Frances had taught him to sail. In his professional career, Mr Hughes primarily worked in London and sat on many boards for high profile companies such as INTEC Telecommunications systems as a Non-Executive Chairman and his most recent, the chairman for Just Eat. From all of us here at Pwllheli Lifeboat Station, we would like send our deepest heartfelt thank you to Mr Hughes and his family for the generous funding of our new SLARS unit and there is no doubt, his legacy will live on with us here at Pwllheli for many decades to come.
Clifford Thomas, Lifeboat Operation Manager at Pwllheli said:
‘These are vital pieces of equipment that our shore crew rely on every time that we have an exercise or indeed a service. Without these highly advanced pieces of kit, both boat’s simply could not launch. Volunteers will commence with training on the equipment shortly and cannot wait to get involved with their new equipment’
Pwllheli RNLI's Shannon class lifeboat is due to arrive on station in early spring of 2021, following crew training and mechanical trials at the RNLI College in Poole.
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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.