New generation lifeboat arrives at base

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution's new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, The Morrell, during sea trials off Poole, Dorset
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution's new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, The Morrell, during sea trials off Poole, Dorset
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The first of a new generation of super-lifeboats powered by waterjets instead of propellers has arrived at its new base.

Hundreds of lives are expected to be saved around the UK’s coastline thanks to the speed and manoeuvrability of the Shannon class of lifeboat.

Scarborough and Bridlington are among the stations that will get the newest member of the RNLI’s fleet. In 2015, Scarborough RNLI’s all-weather Mersey class 
lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs will be 
nearing the end of her operational life.

Scarborough’s £2m Shannon class lifeboat will be funded by a legacy in memory of Frederic William Plaxton, founder of Scarborough-based coach building firm Plaxton.

Fundraising is currently under way towards the cost of a bespoke launch and recovery vehicle for its new lifeboat.

Casualties will be reached quicker with the Shannon as it is capable of 25 knots, some 50 per cent faster than the lifeboats it will replace.

RNLI officials said it is the lightest and most agile all-weather lifeboat in the charity’s fleet, and can reach casualties stranded in shallower waters. Costing £2 million each, more than 50 of these superfast lifeboats will be stationed around the British Isles over the next decade.

They will eventually replace many of the Mersey and Tyne classes, which are only able to reach 17 and 18 knots.

The first Shannon, the Morrell, has arrived at Dungeness, Kent, and will become operational there next month. It is named after the family of Barbara Morrell, from Bromley, south east London, who died aged 95 in 2009.

She asked that her legacy of more than £6m to the RNLI fund a lifeboat for Kent. Over the course of its lifetime, the Shannon-class lifeboats are expected to save more than 1,500 lives and rescue more than 56,000 people.