Two new boathouses floated for RNLI

An interior view of one of the RNLI’s two new floating boathouses. An interior view of one of the RNLI’s two new floating boathouses.
Industry Database

Southampton UK based pontoon systems specialist Intermarine has just completed two new floating boathouses for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) at its lifeboat stations at Brighton and Burnham-on-Crouch.

Built to accommodate the Atlantic 85 B class of rigid inflatable lifeboats, the structures have been designed with new operating requirements firmly in mind.

Common to both boathouses, the first of their kind in the UK, the basic structure is a U-shaped floating steel pontoon mounted with a clad steel superstructure frame. Constructed with full cathodic protection and low maintenance requirements, they should give good service over a minimum operational life of 25 years.

Other features include a unique hydraulically operated lifting platform, supplied by Armada Hydraulics, which allows for rapid launching of the lifeboats via a cradle mechanism. On return, the lifeboat can be manoeuvred vertically, which allows for easy maintenance of the craft.

Assembley of the boathouses was performed close to their installed locations because their size precluded transportation by road. At Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex the yacht harbour slipway cradle came into play, whilst the larger of the two boathouses at Brighton was assembled in the Shoreham Port dry dock, and then towed and moored alongside the awaiting pontoon.

Robert Jeans, an RNLI shoreworks engineer who worked with the project from inception said, "I am very pleased with the boathouses. All in all two very good projects, thank you."

The boathouse project team comprised civil engineer Peter Cross as overall project manager, naval architect Ian Darley, Four-Tees Engineers for fabrication of the steel pontoon walls and enclosure superstructure, TA Colbourne for superstructure cladding, Envirodoor for the lifeboat doors, and Dove doors for the lifeboat personnel doors. The electrical installations were entrusted to the RNLI nominated contractor E J Thurston of Clacton-on-Sea.

From the receipt of contract in September 2010, the RNLI project has proceeded according to budget and plan. Tony Mayhew, the RNLI's consultant engineer, was extremely pleased with the outcome, saying, "Intermarine have successfully delivered two bespoke floating boathouses for the new generation Atlantic 85 lifeboats. They have been responsive and a pleasure to work with throughout both contracts, both of which were completed on budget."

Given the charitable status of the RNLI, the project also represented good value for money with significant savings made against the initial tender figure.

Scott Gaherty, Intermarine managing director concluded, "The RNLI project represents an exciting development in our range of bespoke solutions we can now offer the marine industry. We look forward to working with them again in the future."

Intermarine's previous work with the RNLI includes the training boat marina at the RNLI College at Poole in Dorset completed in 2004.

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