Hoylake RNLI volunteers are preparing for a new era of lifesaving with the eagerly anticipated arrival of their state-of-the-art Shannon class all weather lifeboat, which arrived on Monday 1 December.
The £2M new Shannon class lifeboat, named Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood, arrived by sea at the end of a five day journey from the lifeboat charity’s headquarters in Poole.
Hoylake is only the fourth RNLI lifeboat station in the UK and Ireland to receive a Shannon class vessel, which is the first modern RNLI all weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of propellers. Designed by an in-house RNLI team, it is the most agile all weather lifeboat in the charity’s fleet and has been developed with the safety and welfare of RNLI volunteer crews as a key priority.
John Curry, Hoylake RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said everyone at the station has been looking forward to the vessel’s arrival for months.
He added: ‘The arrival of the new Shannon class lifeboat will bring Hoylake into a new era of lifesaving as the response times of the station will be dramatically improved. The Supacat launch and recovery vehicle travels at ten miles an hour to the water’s edge and, once afloat, the Shannon class is capable of speeds of 25 knots, 50 per cent faster than our current lifeboat. These factors will enable the Hoylake RNLI crews to arrive at the casualty that much faster and increase the chances of saving the lives of those who find themselves in peril on the sea.’
The new £1.5M Launch and Recovery rig which accompanies the Shannon class lifeboat has also been funded by a legacy, from local businessman Roland Hough, and will be named in his honour. This bespoke piece of equipment is capable of operating on the most challenging of beaches due to its all-track drive system. It operates as a `mobile slipway` and will make the lifeboat launch and recovery process both faster and safer.
Matt Crofts, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, said: ‘The volunteer crew at Hoylake have shown a huge amount of dedication, spending many hours away from their families and in some cases taking holiday from work in order to fulfill the training requirements that come with a new all-weather lifeboat. Their commitment and hard work mean the transition to this new generation of lifeboat will be as smooth as possible and I know they are all very much looking forward to the enhanced lifesaving capability the Shannon will bring to the Wirral coast.’