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Exmouth gears up to welcome new lifeboat

15:00 17 April 2014

The RNLI Shannon class lifeboat the Jock and Annie Slater in her recovery position on the Supacat launch and recovery unit. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 9468-16-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders

The RNLI Shannon class lifeboat the Jock and Annie Slater in her recovery position on the Supacat launch and recovery unit. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 9468-16-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders


EXMOUTH’s new state-of-the-art lifeboat, R and J Welburn, is nearly with us. It’s due to arrive in the Exe estuary at 1pm on Friday, May 9.

The new Shannon-class vessel – which cost £1.5m and has been part-funded by the local community – will have an overnight stopover at Weymouth on Thursday, May 8.

Then, crewed by its freshly trained team of RNLI volunteers, the new vessel will arrive in style – accompanied by Exmouth RNLI’s Mersey class and D- class lifeboats – for a warm reception on the town’s beach.

It’s taken just over a year to build the new boat at Berthon, Lymington, Hampshire.

The boat has a radical design. Capable of 25 knots, it’s the first RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets, not propellers.

Around 50 per cent faster than the lifeboat it replaces, it will ensure that those in need are reached more quickly.

The water jets mean that the boat has increased manoeuvrability, so that it can operate in shallow waters.

The R and J Welburn also has shock-absorbing seats and computer monitoring and operating systems. This gives improved safety and welfare for the charity’s volunteer crews.

The second Shannon-class lifeboat to be delivered to an RNLI station in the UK, R and J Welburn replaces Exmouth RNLI’s elderly Mersey-class vessel.

To operate the vessels, the volunteers will use a state-of-the-art launch-and-recovery vehicle (L&RV). Designed in conjunction with Supacat Ltd, the L&RV enables the Shannon-class to be operated in many different beach and sea conditions. It also allows a faster launch and recovery time.

The Mersey class takes 25 minutes to launch. On average it will take just 10 minutes to launch the new Shannon, offering faster turnrounds and the chance to respond quickly to another call out.

Earlier this week, Exmouth RNLI volunteers were practicing launching and recovering the new lifeboat, using The Jock and Annie Slater, the relief Shannon-class vessel based at Poole.

You can follow all the latest news of the R and J Welburn’s arrival in Exmouth on Facebook (Exmouth RNLI) and Twitter (@ExmouthRNLI).


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