An enthusiastic crowd turned out in blustery and chilly conditions to welcome its new Shannon Class vessel to the island which arrived at 11am on Sunday morning.
The Ann and James Ritchie II was joined for her arrival into Ramsey by the current all weather Mersey class lifeboat ‘Ruby Clery’, Peel’s Shannon Class lifeboat ‘Frank and Brenda Winter’ and the Douglas Mersey Class lifeboat ‘Marine Engineer’.
Ramsey Lifeboat Coxswain Mark Kenyon was accompanied by Mechanic Tom Edwards and crew members Jason Colley, Edd Saunders and Michelle Stewardson to bring the ‘Ann and James Ritchie II’ home to Ramsey for the first time. The Ramsey Crew members were accompanied by Fleet Staff Coxswain Dan Guy.
Mark Kenyon MBE, Coxswain of Ramsey Lifeboat, said: ‘It has been an honour to be able to bring this fantastic new lifesaving asset to the island and the whole crew look forward to her being brought into full service in a few weeks time.’
Kevin Christian MBE, Lifeboat Operations Manager for Ramsey Lifeboat, added: ‘I was very pleased to see the ‘Ann and James Ritchie II’come into Ramsey Bay. This follows the tremendous efforts of a great number of people within the RNLI and the community which will allow the volunteer crew at Ramsey continue to save lives at sea.
‘Since the arrival of the arrival of the new and innovative Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS) early in the new year our crew have undertaken training both locally and in Poole and this will continue.’
The £2.2 million Shannon is the most advanced lifeboat in the RNLI fleet and will improve the crew’s ability to save lives at sea. It is more manoeuvrable, safer, faster and has a greater range than the Mersey class lifeboat it replaces. This is second Shannon lifeboat to be stationed on the Isle of Man after Peel.
A key feature of the Shannon is its jet propulsion system. Where the usual propellers and rudders replaced by water jets allowing the lifeboat to turn in its own length, navigate around hazards and stop almost instantly. The crew was able to demonstrate some of these remarkable capabilities during displays near the stone pier and Ramsey Bay.
The Shannon is designed to keep the crew safer on shouts. Shock-absorbing seats protect them from impact when powering through waves. An improved Systems and Information Management System allows the crew to operate and monitor the lifeboat’s functions from the safety of their seats.
The crew will now undergo intense training on the ‘Ann and James Ritchie II’ learning new and adapting existing techniques with the aim that the new all-weather becomes operational in the next few weeks.
A formal naming ceremony and service of dedication will take place in early summer.