Ilfracombe RNLI crew meet their future lifeboat

The new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat in Ilfracombe. Picture: RNLI/A Maslen.

The new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat in Ilfracombe. Picture: RNLI/A Maslen. - Credit: Archant

Harbour visit by the new Shannon class prototype.

SOME of Ilfracombe’s volunteer crew members aboard the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat. Picture:

SOME of Ilfracombe’s volunteer crew members aboard the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat. Picture: RNLI/A Maslen. - Credit: Archant

ILFRACOMBE’S RNLI volunteers had the opportunity to see what their new lifeboat would be like when one of the new Shannon class boats visited the town yesterday (Wednesday).

The prototype all-weather lifeboat from Poole in Dorset pulled up alongside the harbour during the afternoon, greeted by excited volunteers and a crowd of onlookers.

Ilfracombe RNLI is expecting to take delivery of its own Shannon lifeboat towards the end of next year, and this was the first chance for most of the lifeboat crew to see one in the flesh.

They had the opportunity to marvel at its advanced technology and to enjoy an exhilarating ride on the water jet powered vessel at speeds up to 25 knots.


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An appeal is already well underway in the town to raise money towards a new launch vehicle for the new lifeboat.

Volunteer Coxswain at Ilfracombe RNLI, Andrew Bengey, was enthusiastic about the visit and said it was wonderful to see the Shannon class up ‘close and personal’.

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“We now realise what a wonderful opportunity this will be to further the lifesaving capabilities of Ilfracombe lifeboat station,” he said.

“With the excitement also comes a nervousness of knowing that we are asking a great deal from the public with our appeal to fund the £1 million launch and recovery vehicle, but we think that this is a great opportunity for the town to become involved in the events planned for the next 18 months.”

Before the Shannon departed the harbour yesterday, two Ilfracombe crew members boarded to travel with her back to Poole. Mark Hutchings was one of the lucky pair:

“It’s a great chance to get first-hand experience of this amazing machine,” he said.

“It is leaps and bounds ahead of the Mersey, which has done us proud over the last 20 years. With technology like this coming, it makes the future very exciting. I am looking forward to seeing what she can do over the next couple of days.”

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