End of line for All Weather vessel with new inshore lifeboat for Margate RNLI

The new Atlantic 85 inshore boat. Photo RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has announced that Margate’s Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, the Leonard Kent, will be replaced by an Atlantic 85 B class inshore lifeboat.

The decision to change Margate’s lifeboat was made on Wednesday (September 23) when the charity’s Trustees accepted the recommendation of its Operations Committee. Volunteers at the station were then updated and plans have been put in place to train the crew in the operation of the Atlantic 85 inshore boat.

The RNLI regularly conducts a coast review process for all lifeboat stations, looking at the lifesaving service they provide along with patterns of risk in the area and other lifesaving provision available. The station’s Mersey-class all-weather lifeboat is coming to the end of its operational life and a decision had to be made about the most appropriate lifeboat to replace it.

The Leonard Kent RNLI Margate

Margate RNLI underwent a coast review in January 2020. After collecting and analysing launch data from the past 12 years, the team involved spoke to the station volunteers, our search and rescue partners and a number of those who work with us around that part of the coast, and then made a recommendation to the RNLI’s Trustees that the most appropriate replacement lifeboat for Margate RNLI would be a B-class inshore lifeboat in addition to the station’s existing D-class inshore boat. This proposed allocation of assets reflects a change in the nature of rescues, with more incidents occurring closer to shore and more suited to the speed and precision of smaller lifeboats.

Glen Mallen, RNLI South East Lifesaving Manager, said: “Our charity’s priority remains to save lives at sea. We provide the best possible search and rescue service while making the most appropriate use of our supporters’ donations by regularly reviewing lifeboat cover around our coastline.

“After careful, evidence-based consideration and analysis, the RNLI has identified that an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat will be better suited to the vast majority of service launches to which Margate volunteers are tasked.

“The traditional pattern of sea use has changed over the years. The greater speed and capabilities of modern lifeboats means we must make a continuous assessment of our lifesaving service and adapt it, particularly as leisure and other sea-based recreational activities increase.

“With a top speed of 35 knots, the Atlantic 85 is twice as fast on the water as the 17 knot Mersey and better suited to most of the rescues carried out by the crew of Margate Lifeboat Station. It will also help reduce the demands on our volunteers as a slightly smaller crew is required. The Atlantic 85 will operate alongside Margate’s smaller D class inshore lifeboat.

Margate station Photo Peter Barker

“The team at Margate lifeboat station has been kept informed of the rationale involved in both the review process and the final decision. I want to thank them for their contribution to this review, but above all for their dedication, professionalism and commitment to saving lives at sea, which I know will continue with the arrival of their new lifeboat.”

The RNLI is committed to supporting volunteers in continuing to provide the best lifesaving service to all those who live in, and visit, Margate and who enjoy the beautiful Kent coast. Margate lifeboat became part of the RNLI in 1860 and the charity is proud of its long association with local lifesaving volunteers.