End of an era as Seahouses lifeboat embarks on final journey

A lifeboat which served Seahouses for nearly 30 years has made its final journey from the port.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 4:09 pm

The all-weather Mersey-class, Grace Darling, sailed from Seahouses to Amble where it was lifted out of the water and loaded on to a road vehicle for her final journey to the RNLI’s centre at Poole, Dorset.

Seahouses lifeboat operations manager Ian Clayton, admitted: “It was rather sad to see her go, she had served Seahouses well since 1991, and was a very capable boat. I saw her arrive in 1991, so today was the end of an era.

"Technology moves on, and the new boat is a brilliant asset for the station, and her advanced technology will greatly enhance life-saving capability at Seahouses.”

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Seahouses all-weather lifeboat, Grace Darling, leaves port for the last time. Picture: Ian Clayton/Seahouses RNLI

The Grace Darling served as the station lifeboat until the arrival of a new Shannon-class lifeboat, John and Elizabeth Allan.

Its first call was to assist an RAF rescue helicopter which had to ditch a winchman in the sea and make an emergency landing due to engine problems, on a nearby beach. The winchman was recovered safely from the water.

It also attended many diving incidents, including a number of fatalities, and also the cargo vessels Canopus 2 and Danio which ran aground of the Farne Islands during the night.

It is not yet known what the future holds for the Grace Darling lifeboat, but due to her age, she may be sold out of RNLI service.

Seahouses lifeboat, Grace Darling, is lowered into the water for its final journey from the port. Picture: Ian Clayton/Seahouses RNLI

Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon is 50% faster than the lifeboat it replaces.

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RNLI Grace Darling in Seahouses harbour. Picture Ian Clayton/Seahouses RNLI
The Grace Darling makes her way out of Seahouses. Picture Ian Clayton/Seahouses RNLI
The Grace Darling makes its way to the water. Picture Ian Clayton/Seahouses RNLI
The Grace Darling arriving in Seahouses in 1991.