Aith RNLI investment pays off with new pontoon

Lifeboats News Release

A newly built 24 metre long berthing pontoon has now been delivered to the RNLI lifeboat pier in Aith, Shetland.

RNLI/Ray Ferrie

Toplander floats the new berthing pontoon into position
The addition of the purpose built infrastructure, fitted to the inside arm of the existing pier, will act as a floating dock for the station's Severn class lifeboat - the Charles Lidbury - moving with the tides to make access and departure easier for the volunteer crew when responding to emergencies at sea in all weather conditions.

The work has been carried out by the Shetland based engineering and fabrication contractor Malakoff, with the pontoon being built in Lerwick and then floated and towed all the way around to Aith earlier this week when fine weather allowed.

The towing job was undertaken successfully by local work boat firm BK Marine, which used its 22 metre landing craft Toplander to float the pontoon into place around some 70 nautical miles of Shetland coastline.

Aith Lifeboat coxswain John Robertson said he was delighted to see the pontoon project become a reality.

"This is an improvement to our station that is years in the making, and will further improve the already impressive response time of our volunteer RNLI crew - between pager alerts and the lifeboat leaving the pier. It represents a substantial investment in the UK's most northerly lifeboat station and I'm delighted to see it all coming together."

The new berthing pontoon is expected to be in full use by October 2022, and the Aith lifeboat remains able to continue providing search and rescue operations in the meantime.


Note to editors

Aith lifeboat station has been operating for over 80 years, and is the most northerly in the UK. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

RNLI/Ray Ferrie

Malkoff engineers install the new pontoon in place alongside Aith pier

RNLI/Nick McCaffrey

The Aith RNLI's Severn class lifeboat 'Charles Lidbury' on exercise near the Dore Holm seastack in Shetland

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