Former RNLI lifeboat to become glamping pod after being saved from scrapheap
A former RNLI lifeboat destined for the scrap heap has been thrown a lifeline by a Stirlingshire farmer.
Martyn Steedman, who hit the headlines with his family’s conversion of a retired Royal Navy Sea King Helicopter in 2016, has offered the ageing lifeboat a new lease of life on his campsite in Thornhill, Stirlingshire where she’ll be transformed into a glamping pod.
The 26-tonne Tyne Class vessel will make her final journey on Tuesday 30 May, when she’ll be transported from Montrose Port to Mains Farm,Thornhill and craned into position alongside the helicopter. She’ll be carefully lowered into a large hole, positioned as she would be in the water, looking out over the horizon.
Martyn said: “We answered a plea from retired RNLI coxswain and mechanic David Buchan to save her from the scrap heap.
“David had read about our Royal Navy Sea King conversion and hoped we could give the lifeboat a new purpose. At 14 metres long and nearly five metres wide, she offers great glamping potential and will be a great addition to our agritourism business.”
He added: “We’re delighted to be given the chance to preserve her for future generations and are keen to use the project to highlight the lifesaving work of the RNLI.
“One of our first tasks will be to restore her paintwork to the iconic blue and orange!”
A total of 40 Tyne Class lifeboats were built between 1982 and 1990, all of which are now retired from service.
David explained: “Although I’m now retired, I’m still involved with the RNLI as a volunteer at Fraserburgh RNLI Lifeboat Station.
“Having started my career on a Tyne Class, I have a great fondness for these vessels and wanted to find the old girl a nice retirement home.
“47-017 Owen and Anne Aisher, now named Prince George, was one of the last of her kind. Launched in 1988, she served as a lifeboat for 24 years.
“While we don’t know her whole history since she retired from the RNLI, we believe she suffered irreparable damage to her hull after toppling off the blocks supporting her onshore.”
With the original build cost in the region of £500,000, the lifeboat would have been deemed an insurance right off and was sold off for parts in 2013.
The now 35-year-old vessel went on to serve as a donor for pilot boats in the Port of Montrose.
Ross Marshall, Harbour Master of Montrose Port Authority, said: "Over the past 6 years, Prince George has had a vital role in the maintenance of our pilot boat fleet. With sustainability being a key focus for the team here at Montrose, it was important to us to see if she could be repurposed in our efforts to contribute to the circular economy.
"We are glad to see her gain a new lease of life at Thornhill and know that she will highlight the fantastic work that the RNLI does here at our port and around the UK."
With the helicopter conversion attracting international interest, the RNLI hope the transformation will help raise awareness of the charity’s life saving work as it celebrates nearly 200 years of saving lives at sea.
The RNLI said: “This exciting renovation of one of our former lifeboats is a great opportunity for people to experience being on board, but without having to be rescued first!”
Adding: “We hope that this unique experience will inspire glamping guests to help us continue our vital lifesaving work by making a donation to the RNLI.”
For media enquiries and image requests please contact:
[email protected] 07826522517
RNLI enquiries: [email protected]
Montrose Port enquiries: [email protected]
Notes to editors:
- Images of the lifeboat in active service can be found here: Google Drive Link.
- The lifeboat is a Tyne Class (ON1122 Owen and Anne Aisher) and served in the RNLI’s relief fleet 1988-2012. The build was funded by Sir Owen Aisher, a well-known yachtsman and for many years the chairman of the Marley Tile Company. She was built by Souter Marine Ltd, Cowes.
- She served at several stations over her 24-year service and her notable missions include coming to the aid of 150-ton trawler 'Ross Alcedo', when the trawler got into difficulties and almost ran aground off Corbiere after losing power in rough seas in January 1994. The lifeboat reached the trawler in minutes and managed to get a line attached, before towing her back to St Helier.
- She also played a vital role in preventing a pollution disaster on the Welsh Coast:
- David Buchan volunteers as a Depute Launching Authority at Fraserburgh RNLI Lifeboat Station – giving the Coastguard permission to page the lifeboat crew.
May 2023 marks Scotland’s first ever Agritourism month. Agritourism is estimated to be worth £60 million to the economy in Scotland (based on end of year to March 2021 – first year of Covid). More here https://scottishagritourism.co.uk/deputy-first-minister-leads-call-to-go-rural-with-publication-of-new-map/
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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