Hundreds of people welcomed Hastings’ brand new all weather lifeboat which arrived at her new home on Saturday.
Escorted by a flotilla of four RNLI boats, the new £2.2 million ‘Shannon’ class boat displayed her high tech capabilities before a crowd of almost a thousand people.
She travels at 25 knots – almost 50 percent faster than the ‘Mersey’ class lifeboat she is replacing – and is propelled by waterjets which make her the most agile and manoeuvrable lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.
Designed to be self-righting, she can rotate a full 360 degrees, returning to an upright position in the event of a capsize.
Two of the world’s rarest Ferraris, bequeathed to the RNLI by a wealthy benefactor, helped pay for the new boat, named the Richard and Caroline Colton. Northampton-born collector Richard Colton died in March 2015 leaving the classic cars –which reached £8.5 million at auction – to the RNLI.
The legacy has also funded a new launch and recovery rig at the lifeboat station.
After being recovered from the beach bow-first, a turntable in the carriage is able to rotate the Shannon 180 degrees ready for her next launch, meaning casualties can be reached sooner and volunteer launching crews are better protected.
Hastings’ current ‘Mersey’ class lifeboat will continue to be on call until crew have been fully trained to handle the new lifeboat, although after this, her fate is still unknown.
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