Lifeboat to be upgraded

Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater in the harbour at Seahouses with the Grace Darling on the slipway behind.
Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater in the harbour at Seahouses with the Grace Darling on the slipway behind.

Another lifeboat station on the north Northumberland coast has announced that it is set to receive a state-of-the-art new lifeboat.

Seahouses RNLI Lifeboat Station will get a new all-weather lifeboat, which is set to be on station by 2018.

The RNLI has advised that the station is now scheduled to receive one of the new, top-of-the-range Shannon class lifeboats, to replace its current Mersey class lifeboat, Grace Darling, which has been at Seahouses since 1991.

Lifeboat operations manager Ian Clayton said: “The current Mersey class boat has served the station well, and is still a very capable lifeboat, but technology moves on, and the new Shannon is bristling with technology and has many improvements when compared with the Mersey.

“The main advantage will be the much faster top speed of 26 knots, compared with the current boat’s 16 knots, and much increased manoeuvrability.

“The increased speed will enable the boat to reach incidents more quickly, and hopefully enhance its life-saving capability.”

In July, the Gazette reported that Amble RNLI volunteers had launched a massive £200,000 fund-raising appeal towards the cost of a new lifeboat.

In 2017, its current all-weather Mersey-class vessel, The Four Boys, will be nearing the end of her operational life and is set to be replaced by the newest member of the RNLI fleet, a £2million Shannon.

Amble will be one of the first of the charity’s lifeboat stations in the north of England to receive this class of lifeboat, although this latest announcement suggests Seahouses will not be too far behind.

Jock and Annie Slater,, the first Shannon to join the RNLI’s fleet, was put through its paces by the Seahouses and Amble crews last summer, not long after the boat was formally accepted into the charity’s fleet. At the time, Mr Clayton described it as ‘light-years ahead of the kit we have at the moment’.