Sidmouth Lifeboat welcomes new boat
PUBLISHED: 15:57 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:54 28 June 2019
Sidmouth Lifeboat is celebrating the start of a new era with the arrival of its new boat.
Cheers erupted on the seafront as crowds gathered to watch the delivery of the vessel on Thursday afternoon (June 27).
It is the end of a two-year project by the lifeboat crew to buy the craft, which was funded by a generous donation by the Peter and Barbara Truesdale Trust.
It was a special day for lifeboat engineer Mark Wearing, who has been involved in the project since the beginning, but after being diagnosed with a terminal illness was unsure he would see the dreams become a reality.
He called the new arrival the 'Rolls-Royce' of boats with its strong thermal imaging camera, its top speed of 43 knots and its ability to travel in rough weather.
Mr Wearing said: "I did a lot of work on the old boat as I have been here 10 years and made a few modifications. All those modifications are on the new boat as well as a few more. It is now four strokes instead of two, which means it is quieter and more fuel-efficient.
There is a FLIR camera, a thermal imaging camera that can enhance searching for causalities in the water or ashore.
"The boat is really the same as the old one. It is the Rolls-Royce of boats.
"It's very impressive and it's a very nice boat. I wasn't sure if I would see it through or not. Doing this project has been fantastic. I love this sort of stuff. We have a great crew and team and it's a nice organisation."
The boat will replace the current craft, The Pride of Sidmouth, which has been on 274 call-outs since 2004, rescuing 226 people.
The old boat was taken away to its new home at Solent Rescue.
Phil Shepperd said: "It's fantastic. Just over two years ago we thought about the process of buying a new boat. The Peter and Barbara Truesdale Trust offered to pay for the replacement of the boat. This should last between 15 and 20 years.
"Our current boat is 15 years old and has been on 274 callouts and assisted orw rescued 226 people. It is now going to Solent Rescue, another independent lifeboat and will continue its work there."
A naming ceremony and official launch for the new boat will be held in due course.