Fleetwood to get new lifeboat

editorial image

Prepare for the £2m life-saving Shannon!

Fleetwood’s RNLI lifeboat station is set to get the charity’s latest and most advanced class of lifeboat – the Shannon – which is 50 per cent faster than the lifeboat it will replace.

The RNLI plans to replace the Tyne class lifeboat at Fleetwood – which is reaching the end of its 25 year lifespan– in 2015.

The RNLI is currently assessing whether the £2m for the new lifeboat can be raised from legacy gifts or whether fundraising will be needed.

The Shannon is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to operate with water jets, not propellers.

Capable of 25 knots it will also improve safety for the charity’s volunteer crews.

Its shock absorbing seats and on-board computer system allows the crews to operate and monitor the lifeboat from the safety of their seats.

David Eccles, lifeboat operations manager for Fleetwood RNLI Lifeboat Station, said: “The Shannon is a fantastic craft. I sailed on her during her trials at Fleetwood, in which our crew certainly put her through her paces, and everyone was greatly impressed.

“The water-jet propulsion and draft allow her to operate in shallow waters, which will really help when we take to the mud banks of the River Wyre.

“It is clear that this next generation of lifeboat will be a true credit to Fleetwood and help to maintain the tradition of our lifeboat station.”

He added: “The volunteer crew here at Fleetwood are really looking forward to receiving the new Shannon class lifeboat. Our current Tyne class, the William Street, has been with us for 24 years and seen thousands of shouts. We expect the Shannon to be with us for over 50 years.”

Funding for the present lifeboat, which first sailed locally in 1989, came from the William Openshaw Street Foundation, a charitable trust set up to distribute funds left by businessman William Openshaw Street when he died in 1981.