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A new era begins at the Sheerness RNLI Lifeboat Station

Lifeboats News Release

Midday on Friday 30 July 2021 signals the start of a new era for the volunteer crews at the Sheerness RNLI Lifeboat station when their new Shannon Class all-weather lifeboat becomes operational.

14-13 at sea, on route to one of her 692 callouts since coming into service in 1996.

RNLI/Vic Booth

14-13 Trent class 'The George and Ivy Swanson'

As of midday on Friday 30 July the long serving Trent Class Lifeboat 14-13 ‘The George and Ivy Swanson’ will be taken off operational duties and will be replaced by the long-awaited Shannon Class all-weather lifeboat 13-38 ‘Judith Copping Joyce’.

Not only is the much loved ‘George and Ivy’, as she is affectionately known by crews past and present, retiring but also her equally loved full time Coxswain/Mechanic Robin Castle MBE will shortly be retiring himself, after 40 years of dedicated and illustrious service to the RNLI.

Robin will make his last trip on the ‘George and Ivy’ when he sails her down to Poole on Sunday 30 July where it is expected that she will become part of the training fleet.

The new Shannon all-weather lifeboat will be under the command of long serving crew member Paul ‘PJ’ Jarvis who will step up from 2nd Coxswain to become Robin’s replacement as full time Coxswain at Sheerness. She will be in safe hands as not only is PJ a long serving crew member but along with the other four senior crew members, who between them have notched up 120 years of service, all the volunteers at sheerness have now completed very intensive training on the ultra-hi-tech Shannon.

The ‘George and Ivy Swanson’ arrived on station at Sheerness in 1995 and became operational in early 1996 and has been under Robin’s command from day one.

Along with Robin, the ‘George and Ivy’ has also had an illustrious career with 692 callouts resulting in 1054 people aided and 29 lives saved.

Crew members past and present will assemble at Queenborough Harbour on Wednesday 28 July at 6.30pm when the ‘George and Ivy Swanson’ will be alongside the all-tide-landing for a photo shoot.

There will also be an opportunity for our many supporters to say ‘goodbye’ to the ‘George and Ivy’ on Sunday 30 July at 10.30am when, before setting sail for Poole, Robin will bring her round to Queenborough Harbour for one last time.

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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