The Richard and Caroline Colton arrived in Hastings yesterday the town’s brand new Shannon class lifeboat.
Crowds of people flocked to the beach to see the new hi-tech lifeboat arrive after it had gone through extensive trials since July and the local lifeboat crew have undergone extensive training with the new craft.
The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet, the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water-jets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrerable all-weather lifeboat designed so far.
Designed entirely in-house by a team of RNLI engineers, the RNLI harnessed cutting-edge technology to ensure these new lifeboat meets the demands of a 21st century rescue service, building on systems developed for the bigger Tamar Class Lifeboat
The Shannon lifeboat was designed to be launched and recovered from a beach via a new faster and safer launch and recovery system and can also be launched from a slipway or lie afloat.
The Shannon will gradually replace the Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats, which are nearing the end of their operational lives. Once rolled out, the RNLI’s entire all-weather lifeboat fleet will be capable of 25 knots, making the lifesaving service more efficient and effective than ever before.
None of this state of the art design is cheap, and the Shannon’s price tag comes in at £2.2 million, all of which comes from voluntary donations. The naming of the Shannon Class Lifeboat follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers. But it’s the first time an Irish river has been chosen. The River Shannon is 240 miles in length and is the longest river in Ireland.
Hastings’ new boat is to be named after the late Richard Colton of Wellingborough and his late wife Caroline. Although Richard was not keen on the cold waters of the British Isles, during his younger years – and in warmer waters – he was a keen water skier and diver. Throughout his lifetime, Mr Colton was a supporter of the RNLI and he participated in the Ecurie Ecosse Historic Motor Tour in 1991 to raise funds to build a new lifeboat station at Invergordon.
Richard passed away in March 2015 and left an extraordinary legacy to the RNLI of two of the world’s rarest Ferraris. The classic cars were sold at auction for an impressive £8.5 million – making the vehicles the most valuable items ever left to the RNLI – and part of this has been used to fund the new lifeboat at Hastings.
Richard Colton’s legacy will also fund the new Shannon launch and recovery rig for Hastings, which will be named Richard and Mark Colton, after his late son Mark.
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