A larger, faster superboat and a brand new lifeboat station is on the way for Bridlington with the help of a huge £6.5 million investment into the town’s lifesaving role.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has submitted plans for a new £3 million building to replace its ageing 1903 boathouse in South Marine Drive enabling all the RNLI’s lifesaving services in the town can be under one roof.
The new two-storey seafront building will be large enough to house a brand new, £2 million state of the art lighter, faster, water jet propelled Shannon class lifeboat and its £1.6 million launch and recovery vehicle.
Michael Oakes, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, said: “The RNLI has been working closely with the council and other organisations to ensure our new lifeboat station will be an asset for Bridlington’s sea front. Where possible, the RNLI encourages members of the public to visit our lifeboat stations and the new building will have the advantage of a more interactive visitor experience where temporary exhibitions can be held, while the public will be able to see the lifeboat at her best from a purpose-built viewing gallery.”
If all goes according to plan, work on the new lifeboat station should start sometime next year. The new Shannon class superboat will be delivered between the completion of the new station and 2018. Currently only six of the Shannon class craft have been added to the RNLI fleet around England and Ireland but more will follow.
Bridlington’s existing boathouse is cramped and outdated for current needs and plans for the new Art Deco-style building, fitting in with The Spa, are being considered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
It will be built on Spa Promenade between the Spa and the new Yorkshire Water pumping station.
It means the lifeboat and launch vehicle can remain coupled together, speeding up the launch process and being closer to the beach meaning even quicker launch times as the boat will no longer need to be taken across the main road to reach the sea as it does at present.
Bridlington’s inflatable inshore lifeboat and its crew equipment will move from nearby Princess Mary Promenade into the new station which will also house Lifeguards summer beach equipment. The new building includes training and changing facilities for the volunteer crew, a mechanic’s workshop, a shop and viewing area for the public and an exhibition area.
For Bridlington’s lifeboat crew it’s what they have been waiting for. Steve Kinroy, Bridlington RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: “The crew and all local RNLI volunteers are delighted to see the details of the new boathouse, a facility that can only enhance our lifesaving and sea safety activities. The new building clearly demonstrates the RNLI’s long term commitment to the town and to the sea going community of this area, and we very much look forward to this exciting new phase in Bridlington RNLI’s long and proud history.”
Andy Brompton, Bridlington’s deputy launching authority, said: “It has been on the cards for a while. Our new Shannon Class lifeboat will make a major difference being powered by water jets and using state of the art computerisation. When we got our existing boat it was like getting a spaceship - this one is way beyond that.”
The new lifeboat station will cover part of the boating lake and the RNLI and council are currently in discussions about the future of the rest of the lake.
Alan Menzies, director of planning and economic regeneration at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said the council fully supported the lifesaving work of the RNLI at bases of operation along the East Yorkshire Coast, including the four lifeboat stations at Flamborough, Bridlington, Withernsea and the Humber and the seasonal lifeguard units on the beaches at Bridlington, Withernsea and Hornsea, adding: “The application for a new lifeboat station in Bridlington, to replace the existing boathouse, has been received and will be validated and considered in line with the normal planning process.”
Subject to planning permission, the RNLI hope building work willd start during 2015.
The new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat will replace Bridlington’s current Mersey by 2018 is a lighter, faster, state-of-the-art vessel. Capable of 25 knots, 50% faster than the Mersey, it is the latest craft to join the RNLI’s fleet and the first to be powered by water jets instead of propellers.
This gives increased manoeuvrability and the ability to operate safely in very shallow water without the threat of damage to propellers. As with all other RNLI all-weather lifeboats, it is self-righting in the event of capsize and will be able to cope with the roughest of conditions.
The new launch and recovery system for the Shannon has been designed to speed up the launch and minimise manual handling, using a turntable to rotate the boat once recovered to make ready for the next launch.
It is capable of operating on the most challenging of beaches due to its all-track drive system and operates as a ‘mobile slipway’, solving the RNLI’s unique challenge of transporting, launching and recovering the 18-tonne Shannon class over some of Britain’s most demanding beaches.