27th April 2016 – 50th Anniversary of Lifeboat Workhorses
The RNLI lifeboat workhorses, the ‘D’ class inshore lifeboats boats, have been saving lives for many years. Next week marks the 50 th anniversary, since the first inshore lifeboat (ILB) arrived at Fleetwood RNLI.
The first ILB was unnamed, but numbered No.91 and arrived for a summer season at the beginning of May, 1966. Since then, five more ILB’s, the latest named Mary Elizabeth Barnes, have been ‘on service’ at Fleetwood, working alongside the larger all-weather lifeboat.
Their arrival in 1966 helped save the lives of around 120 people and they’ve been in almost 1,000 operations, in the past 50 years.
The ‘D’ class ILB’s have a crew of either two or three and can reach speeds of 25 knots, making it a vital asset to the volunteer lifeboat crew at Fleetwood, especially when rescuing bathers or walkers cut off by incoming tides.
Captain Dave Eccles, RNLI Fleetwood Lifeboat Operations Manager said ‘’ The introduction of the RNLI inshore lifeboat has ensured many more lives have been saved by the volunteer lifeboat crews, around our shores.’’