Work begins on £6.6M new boathouse for Porthdinllaen RNLI
Porthdinllaen is the first to receive its new lifeboat John D Spicer, now the remaining three stations are in a jubilant mood after receiving letters confirming their allocation of modern new lifeboats.
Contractors have moved into the Porthdinllaen site to begin stripping the inside of the old boathouse in preparation for work to begin on the new build. Equipment from the old lifeboat station has been moved into a compound and the station’s new lifeboat is being kept on a swing mooring in the bay as work gets underway. The Porthdinllaen project is inclusive of a new boathouse and slipway and is scheduled to be complete in approximately 18 months.
The three remaining Welsh stations will see their Tyne class lifeboats being replaced with the faster, technologically advanced Tamar’s over the next two years. RNLI crews at Porthdinllaen received their new lifeboat on 20 August. The boat is being kept on a mooring whilst work to build their new boathouse gets underway.
The next lifeboat to arrive will be Moelfre’s, which will also be kept on a mooring whilst work to construct its new home begins. The planning application is currently under consideration and if a positive decision is received, work will get underway in the spring of next year.
Moelfre’s lifeboat has been funded by the generous bequest of the late Reginald James Clark, who died in June 2004. Mr Clark, who was a merchant seaman, had been rescued by the RNLI after his ship was torpedoed during the war. Mr Clark originally came from New Zealand and his family have requested that the lifeboat be named RNLB Kiwi in recognition of his origins.
The south Wales lifeboats are expected to arrive once the boathouses have been built, with planning permission already granted for a new lifeboat station at The Mumbles. The current plan is for the completion of the new slipway stations in October next year. This lifeboat has been funded by the Roy Barker Memorial Fund and will be named RNLB Roy Barker IV.
At St Davids, designers are still at the drawing board putting the final touches to plans and if planning permission is granted, building is expected to start in 2013. This lifeboat is being funded by the generous bequest of Mrs Diane Mary Symon who died in February 2010 and will be named RNLB Norah Wortley.
RNLI Divisional Inspector of lifeboat for Wales Colin Williams says: ‘The Tamar class is the most technologically advanced lifeboat ever produced by the RNLI, we owe it to our volunteer crews to provide them with the very best lifeboats. Being able to provide these fantastic new lifeboats is thanks to very generous bequests for which we are eternally grateful. The fact the charity is investing in four Tamars shows our commitment to saving lives at sea off the Welsh coast.’
Mr Williams said the RNLI had faced significant challenges in designing many of these new boathouses: ‘From the listed status of some of our current boathouses’, sites of Special Scientific Interest and extreme tidal conditions – the challenges of designing homes for these new lifeboats has not been easy. The support we’ve had from local councils, various governing bodies and the public should not be underestimated and we thank our supporters for their continued patience as we provide the necessary bases for 21st century lifeboating.’
The Tamar features modern technology to enhance its lifesaving capabilities. Compared to the Tyne class lifeboat, the Tamar is bigger – 16 metres as opposed to 14 – and has a faster response time, with a speed of 25, rather than 17 knots.
The Tamar includes the computerised Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) that enables crew to control many of the lifeboat's functions remotely from the safety of their seats. Other features include advanced ergonomics, that reduce the impact on the crew as the lifeboat crashes through waves, and a powered Y boat stored behind a transom door to allow immediate deployment.
The first Tamar went on station at Tenby in Wales in 2006, followed by Angle in 2009.