A new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat has gone on service at Carrybridge RNLI. The lifeboat which arrived at the Upper Lough Erne lifeboat station on Tuesday (7 November), replaces Duckhams 2001, which has been used to rescue people on Lough Erne in County Fermanagh since 2015.
Volunteer lifeboat crew began a period of familiarisation training on Tuesday afternoon with their first exercise on the Douglas, Euan and Kay Richards.
The new lifeboat has been funded by The John and Elizabeth Allan Memorial Trust. Professor James Allan’s interest in the RNLI began as a child when he went to Fraserburgh in Scotland, on holiday with his family. Along with his sister Elizabeth, he met the volunteer lifeboat crew and on returning a year later, Professor Allan was delighted that the crew remembered them.
The new lifeboat for Carrybridge is to be named Douglas, Euan and Kay Richards after the children of Professor Allan’s doctor. The lifeboat will be officially named at a special naming ceremony and service of dedication at Carrybridge RNLI’s lifeboat station next year. Carrybridge RNLI also has a Rescue Water Craft.
During her time at Carrybridge, Duckhams 2001 launched 64 times, with its volunteer lifeboat crew rescuing 113 people.
The new lifeboat has some advancement on its predecessor. The Atlantic 85 design allows room for four crew members and more kit than the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, which only had room for three crew members.
The lifeboat is powered by two 115 horse power engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.
The vessel also has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which combined with inversion-proofed engines keeps the lifeboat operational even after capsize. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.
The Atlantic 85 which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005 also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.
Speaking following the arrival of the new lifeboat, Tom Bailey, Carrybridge RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Professor James Allan for his generous donation which has funded our new lifeboat. As we welcome a new lifeboat, there is also a sense of nostalgia too as we bid a fond farewell to Duckhams 2001, a lifeboat that provided us with almost three great years of service. Her time here in Fermanagh brought many people safely to shore and we hope her donor family will be just as proud as we are, of her many achievements.
‘We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years to come.’
The RNLI is a charity which relies on voluntary contributions and legacies.