16th May 2016 – Fleetwood RNLI coxswains gear up for their new Lifeboat
Four coxswains from Fleetwood RNLI are spending this week undergoing vital training at the RNLI College in Dorset to prepare for the arrival of their state-of- the-art new Shannon class lifeboat.
The Shannon is the charity’s first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of propellers and so the coxswains, who could all potentially be in command of the lifeboat and her crew during life-saving rescues, must become familiar with how the vessel operates before they can begin using it around Morecambe Bay and off the Fylde coast.
Gary Randles, Fleetwood RNLI Coxswain, said the training will help ensure the transition from the station’s current Tyne class lifeboat to the new Shannon is as smooth as possible.
He explained: ‘Everyone at Fleetwood lifeboat station is very proud that we are receiving anew Shannon and a huge amount of planning and training has already gone into making sure we are ready for her arrival in June.
‘The Shannon is an impressive vessel, and a very different lifeboat to the Tyne class William Street which we have operated at Fleetwood since 1989. The Shannon is much faster and the fact it is jet propelled means it behaves differently from a boat with propellers but once you’ve mastered that, it is much more agile and easy to manoeuver in shallow water.’
Joining Gary at the RNLI College in Poole are Mechanic Steve Carroll, Emergency Coxswain Paul Ashworth, 2 nd Coxswain Tony Cowell and Crewman Matt Haynes.
They are being put through their paces on a relief Shannon, practicing difficult manoeuvers, high-speed work and recovering casualties as well as becoming familiar with the high-tech electronic systems which allow the crew to control a lot of the lifeboat’s functions from the relative safety of their seats.
Fleetwood’s new Shannon class lifeboat is due to arrive at the lifeboat station on 26 June. She has been funded in part by a generous legacy left to the charity by Kathleen Pierpoint and will be named Kenneth James Pierpoint in memory of her brother. A community fundraising appeal also contributed towards the cost of the £2.2M lifeboat.
Next week, crew members who serve as mechanics will be at the RNLI College for specialist training which will allow them to maintain the Shannon’s two engines and waterjets. Following the new lifeboat’s arrival at Fleetwood, there will be a couple of weeks intensive training for the crew before the lifeboat is put on service and the William Street is withdrawn.