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Crowds see what new Wells lifeboat will look like

17:40 12 July 2012

The Wells crew try out the prototype Shannon class lifeboat. Picture RNLI

The Wells crew try out the prototype Shannon class lifeboat. Picture RNLI

Archant

People in Wells today got a glimpse of the type of lifeboat which is due to be stationed in the town in three years’ time.

A crowd of onlookers lined the harbour wall, along with members of the fund-raising Lifeboat Guild, to see the new RNLI Shannon class vessel.

It was the first time Wells coxswain, Allen Frary and members of the crew had a chance to try out the new prototype, which is currently undergoing nationwide sea trials around the coast of the UK.

Mr Frary said, “She’s very impressive and well thought out. There has been a lot of input into her design from lifeboat crews around the country. We look forward to getting her here at Wells.”

Wells’ current Mersey Class lifeboat, Doris Mann of Ampthill, is due for replacement, after more than 25 years of service, in 2015.

The replacement cost of the new lifeboat, along with her transport carriage and tractor is £2.5 million. All the money is raised by public donation.

On Tuesday the Shannon was involved in live search and rescue operations off Eastbourne and according to her coxswain, Fleet Staff Officer Lee Firman, she performed perfectly.

He said: “The lifeboat is very manoeuvrable and handles well in the roughest seas.”

The boat has a top speed of 28 knots and cruises at 20 knots as opposed to the Mersey Class boat’s 18 knots.

She has a range of 250 nautical miles as against 140 miles for Wells’ Mersey Class boat.

It has water jet propulsion which allows it to come up on the beach at full speed and manoeuvre in shallow water.

After the visit to Wells, The Shannon left to sail to Skegness and then back to Lowestoft.

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