New Lifeboat for Hastings


Peter and Sarah Adams have contributed the following:


A new Lifeboat for Hastings

After 30 years of excellent service in Hastings, the existing Mersey class lifeboat ‘Sealink Endeavour’ is to be replaced by a new Shannon class of boat.

WHY replace ‘Sealink Endeavour’?

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat (ALB) to join the RNLI fleet, and being capable of 25 knots, it is almost 50% faster than our current Mersey class lifeboat. She is also the first RNLI ALB propelled by waterjets instead of propellers. This makes her the most agile ALB in the RNLI fleet.  Waterjets allow the Shannon to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. When precision really matters, such as operating alongside a stricken vessel or navigating near hazards, the jets enable excellent manoeuverabilty.

Measuring just over 13m in length and weighing in at 18 tonnes, the Shannon is the smallest and lightest of RNLI 25-knot lifeboats, meaning she can be launched straight from the beach via a new and improved Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS), The new SLARS rig allows a faster and safer launch and recovery time compared with the present Mersey system. After being recovered from the beach bow first, a turntable in the carriage rotates the Shannon 180º ready for her next launch. This means casualties can be reached sooner, and our volunteer launching crews are more protected.

The safety and welfare of the RNLI’s volunteer crew was a key priority in the development of the Shannon class lifeboat.  The hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas, whilst shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves. In addition, the boat includes the latest technology to ensure crew safety, and carries comprehensive medical equipment. As with all RNLI ALB’s, the Shannon is designed to be inherently self-righting.

None of this is without a price tag. A Shannon costs a minimum of £2.2 million, and the SLARS rig £1.3 million, all of which comes from voluntary donations.

HOW is it being funded?

The new Shannon-class lifeboat to be stationed at Hastings is named:

Richard and Caroline Colton after the late Mr Richard and Mrs Caroline Colton of Wellingborough.

Although Richard was not keen on the cold waters of the British Isles, during his younger years, 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 for building 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. Part of this legacy has been used to fund the new Shannon for Hastings.

Richard Coulton’s legacy is also providing the new Shannon Launch and Recovery rig for Hastings, which will be named Richard and Mark Colton, after his late son Mark.

WHAT happens now?

All this means it will be a busy time for Hastings RNLI station and its volunteer crew, as the new boat and launch rig will place a heavy demand on crew training.

Peter Adams, Hastings Lifeboat Operations Manager:

This is fantastic news for the town. The RNLI has shown its faith in us by allocating a brand new Shannon lifeboat to Hastings.  The challenge now facing the station is learning to handle the very best that 21st century lifeboat technology has to offer. Our Mersey will stay as the operational lifeboat at Hastings, being used for all call-outs, until the crew have been fully trained and passed out as competent to operate the new lifeboat. ‘Sealink Endeavour’ will then leave Hastings to start a new life outside of the RNLI.”

Here are some important Shannon arrival dates for your diary:

13th October – The new boat arrives after sailing from Poole during the preceding week, and spending the previous evening in Eastbourne. She is due arrive at midday joined by lifeboats from Hastings and hopefully Eastbourne and Rye Harbour. As this is during Hastings week we look forward to seeing a large crowd of supporters.

15th October – local crew training starts, with the new boat being launched, sailed and recovered every day this week.

27th April 2019 – The new boat will be officially named in a ceremony at the station. Look out for more details closer to the time.

For more information contact

Clive Mayhew       Hastings Lifeboat Press Officer       Tel: 07711 673138

Peter Adams       Lifeboat Operations Manager        Tel: 07768 115556