Before the current Tyne lifeboat Annie Blaker is officially taken off service later this year, it will be replaced by a relief Shannon class lifeboat — the fastest and most technologically advanced class in the fleet.
The Shannon class Jock and Annie Slater is due to arrive in Wicklow on Sunday 24 February at 2:30pm.
Annie Blaker has been the busiest all-weather lifeboat in the history of the station, being involved in over 340 services, rescuing over 400 people.
It will be a bittersweet time for the crew, station management and fundraisers with the arrival of the new lifeboat and the departure of Annie.
The relief lifeboat, which will eventually be replaced by a permanent Shannon for Wicklow in a few years’ time, will have a temporary berth at the South Quay.
Each lifeboat class has a unique slip to launch from and as the Shannon is very different to the Tyne class, this temporary mooring near the station will support it until Wicklow receives its permanent Shannon lifeboat.
Work will need to be undertaken to support the changes at Wicklow and this will be undertaken in full consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Commenting on the changes, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat operations manager Des Davitt said: “The confidence displayed by the RNLI Council and trustees, who have given the go-ahead for this major investment, is a testament to the service of all crew, committees and fundraising teams, past and present.
“History is in the making as the newest, fastest, state-of-the-art lifeboat is about to arrive. Already our coxswains and mechanics have attended training in Poole and a crew from our station has been tasked with bringing the Shannon class lifeboat into Wicklow on Sunday 24 February where the rest of the crew will receive training from the fleet staff coxswains.
“Over the next three years major work will be carried out on the station and slip to accommodate the arrival of our own Shannon in early 2022. None of this would be possible without the magnificent support of the people, businesses and organisations of Wicklow and environs.
“It is an exciting time for all involved and indeed for the people of Wicklow.”