Volunteer RNLI crew members training on a replica Shannon class vessel ahead of the arrival of Skegness’ new lifeboat.
Five crew members arrived at the RNLI’s headquarters at Poole in Dorset on Sunday to complete conversion training on the faster, waterjet-powered, Shannon class vessel.
Our new lifeboat will bring about a new era of lifesaving for Skegness RNLIAlan Fisher, Skegness RNLI Lifeboat operations manager
Named Joel and April Grunnill, the £2.2million state-of-the-art lifeboat will began the voyage back to Skegness yesterday (Wednesday), and is expected to arrive in the town on Saturday at 1.17pm. The journey will give the Skegness RNLI crew on board time to familiarise themselves with the vessel.
The Shannon 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.
After a further period of training, it will replace the station’s current RNLI Mersey class lifeboat, Lincolnshire Poacher, which has operated at Skegness since 1990 and has carried out 352 rescues, saving 195 people.
Alan Fisher, Skegness RNLI Lifeboat operations manager, said everyone at the station has been looking forward to the vessel’s arrival for months. He said: “While we will miss the Lincolnshire Poacher, which has served our station incredibly well for 27 years, the arrival of our new lifeboat will bring about a new era of lifesaving for Skegness RNLI. The Shannon is capable of speeds of 25 knots, almost 50 per cent faster than our current lifeboat, and is more manoeuvrable. That means our crew will reach casualties more quickly and effectively, increasing the chance of saving their lives.”
The new lifeboat has been funded by a generous donation by local RNLI box secretary April Grunnill, following the legacy left by her cousin, former crew and station chairman Joel Grunnill, who sadly passed away in 2014. Both April and Joel have been lifelong supporters on the RNLI and the vessel is named in their honour.
Mick Abbott, Skegness RNLI station chairman RNL, said: “The volunteer crew at Skegness have already shown a huge amount of dedication, spending time away from their families. Their commitment means the transition to this new generation of lifeboat will be as smooth as possible.”