Hastings Shannon lifeboat delivered

Waterjets allow the Shannon to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached (Photo: Sid Saunders)

The South coast UK lifeboat station of Hastings has just taken delivery of its new lifeboat paid for by a rare and generous donation to the RNLI of two vintage Ferraris.

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat and almost 50% faster than the Mersey class lifeboat previously stationed at Hastings. She is also the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets instead of propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.

Waterjets allow the Shannon to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. And when precision really matters, such as operating alongside a stricken vessel or navigating around hazards, they come into their own.

Measuring just over 13m in length and weighing in at 18 tonnes, the Shannon is the smallest and lightest of current all-weather lifeboats, meaning she can be launched straight off the beach via a new and improved Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS), which will also be coming to Hastings.

The new tractor-borne carriage allows a faster and safer launch and recovery time than the present Mersey system. After being recovered from the beach bow first, a turntable in the carriage rotates the Shannon 180º ready for her next launch.

An improved Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) allows the crew to operate and monitor many of the lifeboat's functions from the safety of their seats.

As with all RNLI all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon class is designed to be inherently self-righting, returning to an upright position in the event of a capsize. The Shannon lifeboat also carries comprehensive medical equipment including oxygen and full resuscitation kit, Entonox for pain relief, large responder bag and three different stretchers. The basket stretcher can be securely mounted on the wheelhouse floor.

The new lifeboat is to be named Richard and Caroline Colton after the late Mr Richard Colton of Wellingborough and his late wife Caroline Colton.

Richard Colton passed away in March 2015 and left an extraordinary legacy to the RNLI of two of the world’s rarest Ferraris. The classic cars were sold at auction for an impressive £8.5 million – making the vehicles the most valuable items ever left to the RNLI – and part of this has been used to fund the all-weather lifeboat Richard and Caroline Colton at Hastings.

Richard Colton’s legacy is also funding the new Shannon Launch and Recovery rig for Hastings, which will be named Richard and Mark Colton, after his late son Mark.

The boat is kitted out with the very best in marine equipment, including Class 50 DuroWipers.

“The wipers come with a ten-year guarantee which makes them maintenance free", said Noel Gould, owner, DuroWipers.

“That’s how confident we are in the strength of our wipers and although it doesn’t do us any favours when it comes to future servicing and maintenance, it’s in new business where we do so well. The wipers’ reputation speaks for itself.”

DuroWipers originally secured the contract to supply 57 RNLI vessels, including the new Shannon class lifeboats, with wiper systems back in 2012.

This vessel is the third new Shannon class to be kitted out by DuroWipers in 2018.

In April, the newbuild Barbara Anne lifeboat went into service at Lytham St Annes and in May, the £2.2m Humfrey Berkeley 13-25 went into service out of Leverburgh equipped with the same wipers.

By Jake Frith

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