The new RNLI Lifeboat at Leverburgh was enthusiatically welcomed into port two weeks ago by the Harris community.
Now, following a very busy period, Leverburgh RNLI’s volunteer crew have passed their training on the Shannon-class vessel, which is named ‘RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley’, and the new vessel started active service this week.
RNLI Fleet Staff Coxswain, Andrew said: “It has been a pleasure to work with all the volunteers at Leverburgh Lifeboat Station. To see their new Shannon class lifeboat going on service is a proud moment for everyone involved and a massive date in the station’s history books.
“The new boat will serve the station well for years to come, but will always need the volunteers to continue the great work that they do, to allow it all to happen.
“Thank you to all the training staff and everyone else involved for making this Shannon delivery, to such a beautiful corner of the world, a pleasure to be part of.”
The Shannon class Lifeboat is the RNLI’s first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet, a feature which will be particularly beneficial when working in the challenging waters of the Sound of Harris. Furthermore, the Shannon is almost 50% faster than Leverburgh’s previous Mersey Class Lifeboat, RNLB The Royal Thames, with a top speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are at risk.
Leverburgh RNLI Coxswain, Angus Morrison, who was part of the team who took the new Shannon from Poole to Leverburgh said: “Apart from the increased speed, range and manoeuvrability of the Shannon, one of the most significant improvements is the increased safety and welfare of the crew.
“Each seat is mounted on a shock absorber, and individual electronic screens allow the crew to operate and monitor most of the lifeboat’s functions from the safety of their seat.
“It is a real honour to be in receipt of such an impressive vessel and we are sure she will serve our coastal communities well for years to come.”
Leverburgh RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Ross added: “We would like to pay particular thanks to all the RNLI trainers and assessors who have visited us over recent months, for their time and the wealth of knowledge they have brought with them.
“We would also like to thank our local coastguard helicopter teams for assisting us with our most recent training.
“It is a truly memorable occasion to have our new Shannon class Lifeboat go on service and one which we are delighted to be a part of.
“The Mersey Class Lifeboat has served us well since the station’s establishment in 2012, but the arrival of the Shannon in Leverburgh brings a whole host of new, much more advanced, life-saving capability to our coasts.
“While today’s announcement is welcome news in terms of crew having been passed out, the opportunity to learn will no doubt carry on well into the future as they continue to acquaint themselves with their new vessel.”
Leverburgh’s new Shannon Class Lifeboat will be officially named at a special ceremony, to be held on Saturday 14th July.