New lifeboat to patrol Sidmouth coastline

Prototype Shannon class lifeboat in rough seas. Pic: Nathan Williams.

Prototype Shannon class lifeboat in rough seas. Pic: Nathan Williams.

Nathan Williams

Sidmouth’s coastline will be kept even safer after a new £1.5million lifeboat funded by a resident’s legacy will be patrolling local waters.

Exmouth’ RNLI station will be one of the first in the country to receive the innovative lifeboat, the Shannon.

It will replace the current RNLI Mersey-class lifeboat, Margaret Jean, when she completes her operational time in Devon next year.

The cost of the new lifeboat will be met by a legacy left by Joan Welburn, who lived in Sidmouth and passed away in March 2009.

She requested the capital from her estate was used for the provision of a lifeboat, named The R & J Welburn as a memorial to her late husband Raymond, who was related to Captain Michael Hansley Welburn, Master of the lifeboat at Spurn Point.

But an appeal started this week to help fund the new launching and recovery vehicle that is essential to move the lifeboat to and from the sea.

Tim Mock, Exmouth RNLI coxswain says everyone at the lifeboat station is very excited: “We’re all delighted and extremely honoured that we are to receive one of the first of the new Shannon class of lifeboats.

“The volunteer crew here had the opportunity to experience its water jet propulsion system, and now we can’t wait to see the Shannon coming to the station.”

He said the boat’s capabilities of reaching 25 knots makes it almost 50 per cent faster than the previous boat, and will save precious time during a rescue.


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