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Bellringing as new Oban lifeboat is completed

Lifeboats News Release

The new lifeboat to serve the maritime, island and coastal communities around Oban has entered the water for the first time.

The ship's bell in the foreground and new Oban lifeboat ion the background

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Oban's new lifeboat and the bell rung to mark her completion.

The RNLI marked the completion of the build of the Shannon class vessel, The Campbell Watson, with a traditional bellringing ceremony at its all-weather lifeboat centre at Poole in Dorset.

The vessel will undergo extensive sea trials and equipment tests before sailing to take up station at Oban's South Pier in December.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, John Deas, Head of Production and Estates at the RNLI, said he and his team are proud to have reached an important stage in the charity's history:

‘The completion of any new lifeboat is a special moment when we reflect on the future rescues these powerful boats will carry out – and the volunteer crews they’ll keep safe. But this particular lifeboat marks a significant milestone.

‘As you’ll see from the ‘13-50’ on the hull, this is the fiftieth Shannon to join the RNLI fleet. For ten years now, this capable class has been serving crews around our coasts. It’s the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet.’

The Campbell Watson will be named in memory of Elizabeth Lyall Watson from Belfast whose legacy following her death in 2021, alongside other donations, funded the lifeboat.

The daughter of Captain Campbell, a Scottish ship’s captain who served with the Gem Line, Mrs Watson was married to a ship’s engineer who lost his life when his ship was destroyed by a fire off the coast of Japan in 1989.

Lifeboat Operations Manager at Oban, Peter MacKinnon, says the generosity shown by Mrs Watson and other donors means a lot to the seagoing and land based crew:

‘This kind legacy has allowed our charity to fund this new vessel for Oban. Mrs Watson, her father and her husband were all steadfast supporters of the RNLI. It’s a huge privilege that we can continue serving our communities from Oban in a new lifeboat named in their memory.’

Oban lifeboat’s full time Coxswain, Ally Cerexhe says the coming months will be dominated by training to familiarise the coxswains, mechanics and crew with quite a different lifeboat from the Trent Class Mora Edith Macdonald which has served from Oban since 1997:

‘Shannons are a class apart in terms of handling. Unlike the rest of the fleet, the Shannon is propelled by water jets instead of traditional propellers, making them more manoeuvrable and agile. It means we’ll be able to operate safely, closer to the shore than we can at the moment.’

RNLI media contacts

For further information, please contact:

John Macgill Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Oban RNLI on 07711 548672 or email [email protected]

Stephen Lawson Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Oban RNLI on 07776 340629 or email [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, Regional Media Officer (Scotland), on 07826 900639 [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), on 07920 365929 or [email protected]

RNLI Press Office 01202 336789 or [email protected]

Oban's new lifeboat ready to be lowered into the water.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Oban's new lifeboat ready to be lowered into the water.
Our colleague Lizz Armstrong rings the bell in the foreground with the new lifeboat in the background

RNLI/Nathan Williams

The RNLI’s International Communications Officer, Lizz Armstrong, rings the bell to celebrate the completion of Oban’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.