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Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat’s tractor leaves for refit

Lifeboats News Release

Staithes and Runswick RNLI’s tractor TW53H left the village yesterday (Wednesday 25 October) for the launch vehicle’s five-yearly refit. The station had a relief tractor delivered and the vehicles were swapped at low tide, something which becomes quite a spectacle within the busy village.

RNLI/James Stoker

Launch tractor TW53H left Staithes for it's five-yearly refit on Wednesday 25 October. Relief tractor TW17H is seen with the departing TW53H during the swap of the tractors.

Logistically because of a weight limit and restrictions on Cowbar Bank the swapping of tractors necessitates the vehicles being brought across the harbour during low tide. The departing vehicle travels up the slipway near the Cod and Lobster public house, through the High Street and up to bank top where the tractor is loaded onto waiting road transport.

Volunteer crew are posted at strategic points along the route, stopping traffic and pedestrians, along with crew walking with the tractor. They remain in radio contact with each other to ensure the safe passage of both vehicles on their journey to and from the top of the village.

The swap of tractors, with relief tractor TW17H arriving from Clayton Engineering (Powys, Wales) earlier in the day, was to allow for Staithes and Runswick RNLI’s resident tractor to be refitted. These refits happen every five years and they mean that, along with the regular maintenance carried out on the tractor at the station, Staithes and Runswick’s launch vehicle is in perfect condition ready for when the call comes to save lives at sea. All of which is made possible by the generous donations made to the charity.

Notes to Editor

Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat has been in operation since 1978 with Atlantic B-Class inshore lifeboats (ILB’s). The present ILB at the station B-897 Sheila and Dennis Tongue III has been on station since 2016.

Both Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat’s resident tractor (TW53H) and the relief tractor (TW17H) are Talus MB-4H tractors which were developed jointly between Clayton Engineering and the RNLI, designed specifically for launching rigid inflatable lifeboats rather than being an adaptation of an existing commercial tractor design. The Talus MB-4H is drivable in either direction, and steers by way of articulation between the front and rear of the tractor.

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For more information please contact James Stoker, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at: [email protected] or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824 518641 or, [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI/James Stoker

Having been brought from the road transport at the top of the village TW17H is seen here awaiting low tide.

RNLI/James Stoker

TW17H arrives having crossed the harbour, with TW53H waiting to depart.

RNLI/James Stoker

The swapping of tractors necessitates the vehicles being brought across the harbour during low tide, here the departing tractor crosses the harbour.

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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