East Yorkshire News

In Pictures: The RNLI’s new £2.2m lifeboat jets into Bridlington

Pictures by Paul Linton

After months of hard work and preparation, Bridlington RNLI welcomed its new £2.2 million Shannon class lifeboat last (Sunday 12th November 2017)

The lifesaving vessel arrived at 1:22pm to add a sense of occasion, as her operational boat number is 13.22.

The charity’s new lifeboat will be named Antony Patrick Jones in memory of a local man who bequeathed a substantial amount to Bridlington RNLI. This generous bequest mainly funded the lifeboat station’s new Shannon.

Antony Patrick Jones was an only child and spent his childhood and young adult life in Bridlington. He was a keen horseman and was involved with assisting in Riding for the Disabled. He also enjoyed swimming.

His late mother, Mrs Constance Jones, was an active member of Bridlington Ladies Lifeboat Guild.

Bridlington RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat will be housed in a new purpose built boathouse.

The Art Deco style building replaces the lifeboat station on South Marine Drive which was too small and outdated for the RNLI’s needs.

Bridlington RNLI’s new lifeboat station was designed by long-established York architects Brierley Groom and built by Malton-based contractor Scothern Construction Ltd

The two-storey station offers the extra space required to house the new Shannon class lifeboat and launch vehicle. This means that they will be able to remain coupled together when not in use, thus speeding up the launch process when the crew is called out on a lifesaving mission.

RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Keith Turnbull, said: ‘Naturally we’ll really miss our current all-weather lifeboat Marine Engineer but we’re also excited about receiving a Shannon, whose advanced technology means we’ll be able to reach people a lot more quickly and further off shore.

‘The arrival of Bridlington’s Shannon class lifeboat has been much anticipated. We really hope that as many people as possible turn up to witness what promises to be a truly historic occasion.’

Bridlington’s current all-weather lifeboat Marine Engineer (Left) escorts the brand new £2.2m Shannon class lifeboat Antony Patrick Jones into shore. 

Chris Brompton, Bridlington RNLI’s station mechanic, added: ‘Our volunteer crew can’t wait to start their new chapter of lifesaving with the Shannon and we’ve really enjoyed our recent training ahead of her arrival. The state-of-the-art vessel is 50% faster than our current all-weather lifeboat and this will ensure that those in need are reached even more quickly than before.’

The new Shannon class lifeboat will be named during an official ceremony next year.

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet. She’s the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her our most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet.

The Shannon class lifeboat:

  • The Shannon class all-weather lifeboat costs £2.2M.
  • The Shannon class lifeboat is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets and not propellers.
  • Designed to revolutionise the way we save lives at sea, the Shannon class lifeboat is almost 50% faster than the Mersey with a top speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are at risk.
  • Two 650hp Scania engines help the Shannon to achieve this speed. In fact, she only needs 80% of her power to do so, meaning the engines don’t have to work so hard and should last longer.
  • Each engine has its own 1,370-litre fuel tank which can be refueled at a rate of 200 litres a minute, meaning the lifeboat will never be out of action for long.
  • The Shannon is the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets instead of propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.
  • Waterjets allow the Shannon to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. And when precision really matters, such as operating alongside a stricken vessel or navigating around hazards, they come into their own.
  • At maximum power, the Shannon lifeboat pumps 1.5 tonnes of water each second from her waterjets.
Braving the elements to watch the new Shannon Class lifeboat arrive.


The Shannon launch and recovery system at Bridlington
So what sets this system apart?

The launch and recovery system acts like a mobile slipway for the Shannon, which can be driven directly onto the beach for recovery, making both ideal for our lifeboat stations without harbours, slipways or davit systems.

Weighing in at 37 tonnes, this impressive piece of kit can carry an 18-tonne Shannon over all kinds of beach terrain, from steep shelving shingle to wet, sticky sand.

It can drive straight into big surf and safely launch the lifeboat in up to 2.4m of water. Not only that, in the event of breakdown with an incoming tide, the watertight tractor can be completely submerged in depths of up to 9m before being retrieved once the tide has receded.

In calm conditions, the tractor doesn’t even have to get wet. Its hydraulic carriage tilts 7 degrees downwards, allowing the lifeboat to run down the slope into the water.

The lifeboat is launched at the touch of a button and the whole system requires less manual handling by shore crew volunteers, making for a safer and more efficient launch and recovery.

Bridlington Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers welcome their new £2.2m Shannon class lifeboat and launch and recovery system which acts like a mobile slipway for the Shannon, which can be driven directly onto the beach for recovery, making both ideal Bridlington.shingle to wet, sticky sand.

Now for the really clever bit …  When it’s time to recover the beached lifeboat bow first onto the tractor’s unique turntable cradle, it can rotate the lifeboat 180º, ready to be launched again within 10 minutes.


This is 150% faster than its predecessor – the launch and recovery system for our Mersey class all-weather lifeboat – which takes an average of 25 minutes.

With its 450hp engine, it can tow the lifeboat to the tideline 43% faster too – at 10mph compared to 7mph.

Every second can mean the difference between life and death when there’s an emergency at sea. And RNLI engineers worked closely with Supacat Ltd in the bespoke design of this state-of-the-art launch and recovery system to shave every second they could.

With its 450hp engine, the new state-of-the-art launch and recovery system can tow the lifeboat to the tideline 43% faster too – at 10mph compared to 7mph..
  • Length of tractor and carriage: 19.3m without lifeboat / 20.3m with lifeboat
  • Tractor width: 3.5m
  • Tractor height: 4m
  • Weight (unladen): 37 tonnes
  • Winch wire pull: 18.5 tonnes
  • Engine: Scania DC13 12.7-litre, turbo-charged diesel, 331kW (450hp)
  • Fuel: 250 litres
  • Maximum speed: 10mph
Crowds brave the cold and rain to watch the arrival of the new lifeboat
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