There will be celebrations today as Angle’s new Tamar class lifeboat is named by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
The lifeboat was funded from a £1.6M donation from the Grand Lodge of the Mark Master Masons, a branch of the freemasons, and by RNLI supporters in Pembrokeshire who donated over £400,000.
HRH Prince Michael of Kent, The Grand Master of the Order of Mark Master Masons, will name the lifeboat Mark Mason during a ceremony this afternoon.
Angle’s Tamar, which was declared operational on 23 March 2009 has already proved her worth, having already launched on five rescue missions.
Call-outs have included escorting a fishing vessel taking on water, assisting a power boat with engine problems, searching for two missing boys and investigating a sighting of red flare.
John Allen-Mirehouse, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager at Angle said: "The volunteer RNLI crew have really got to grips with this fantastic new boat and can’t praise her enough. She is faster, which means they can reach casualties more quickly but she is also a more comfortable, safer ride, which is especially important at many of our shouts are long towing operations.’ An appeal to fund the new lifeboat was launched in Birmingham in 2006, to celebrate the historic links between the city and the sea.
RNLI supporters in Pembrokeshire also threw their weight behind the fundraising drive, which raised just over £400,000. The £1.6M donation from the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, completed the task to foot the bill of the £2.7M lifeboat.
Mr Allen-Mirehouse adds: "We can’t express our gratitude enough to everyone who contributed to the fundraising appeal which has made this dream a reality for Angle. Today is the culmination of three years of hard work and the ceremony will give us the opportunity to thank the Grand Lodge of the Mark Master Masons and the people of Birmingham and Pembrokeshire who have given so generously."
The ceremony will be attended by RNLI Chairman Admiral Lord Boyce, who will accept the new lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI Council. The service of dedication will be led by the Team Vicar Reverend Matthew Dobbs, Angle Parish Church and will include music by Pembroke Silver Brass Band and Pembroke Choir.
The Tamar class is the latest design of RNLI all-weather lifeboat and features cutting edge technology to enhance its lifesaving capabilities. The new lifeboat replaces the station’s Tyne class all-weather lifeboat, which was built in 1986. Compared to the Tyne, the Tamar is bigger – 16 metres as opposed to 14 – and faster, with a speed of 25, rather than 17 knots.
Extensive modifications have been carried out to the boathouse and the slipway at Angle to allow the new larger lifeboat to operate. The Tamar has more safety features built in to protect the crew, including a new seat design that will reduce loadings on crew members’ spines in rough weather.
A new on board computer known as SIMS (Systems and Information Management System) further improves safety because a lot of the lifeboat’s functions can now be managed remotely. This means the crew do not have to move around the boat while underway, reducing the risk of accidents. Using SIMS also allows better task sharing between crew members, as the various functions required to operate the lifeboat can be accessed via screens at any of the six crew positions.