New D class inshore lifeboat goes on service at Portrush RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A new D class inshore lifeboat has officially gone on service today at Portrush RNLI.

RNLI/Judy Nelson

Mrs Blair with crew Dave Robinson:Des Austin:Johnny Weston and DLA Carl Kennedy

The volunteer crew took delivery of the Ken Blair D-871 this morning (Thursday 10 November) with the donor Mrs Sylvia Blair from Bangor in Portrush to see the lifeboat which is named after her late husband, take to the water for the first time.

Several of the volunteer crew were on hand to accept the new lifeboat and get her ready for her sea trials. Coxswain-Mechanic Dave Robinson checked the lifeboat in and supervised the transfer of kit from the outgoing lifeboat, David Roulston D-738, which will now be accepted into the RNLI’s relief fleet after 11 successful years at Portrush.

Mrs Blair was welcomed by the crew and watched as the Ken Blair was transferred to the lifeboat station and then launched for the first time.

Beni McAllister, Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Sylvia and her late husband Ken for the generous donation which has funded this lifeboat for Portrush RNLI. As we welcome this new asset, there is also a sense of nostalgia as we bid farewell to the David Roulston which has served us so well for more than a decade.

‘This is a very proud day for our crew and the station team and we are delighted that Mrs Blair could be here to join us and see the Ken Blair take to the water for the first time in Portrush. We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years to come.’

The D class inshore lifeboat has been the workhorse of the RNLI for over 50 years. First introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1963, the design of the inflatable D class lifeboat continues to evolve to meet changes in demand and technology.

She is highly manoeuvrable and usually operates closer to shore than our all-weather lifeboats. She comes into her own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations - often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.

The new lifeboat will be officially named at a special ceremony at Portrush RNLI next Spring.

RNLI/Maureen Kane

The arrival of 'The Ken Blair"

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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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