By Peter Barker
Margate RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew have welcomed a brand-new B class lifeboat, replacing the boat from the charity’s relief fleet that has been in operation for the last nine months.
Late in April 2021 Margate’s Mersey class all-weather lifeboat was replaced by a B class Atlantic 85 lifeboat. Initially the station was allocated a boat from the RNLI’s relief fleet for the intensive training programme and first months of service as an operational lifeboat and the decision was soon taken to allocate a brand-new B class lifeboat for Margate, to be built at the RNLI’s boatbuilding facilities at Cowes, Isle of Wight.
Since then, the relief lifeboat Peterborough Beer Festival III (B815) has served the station faithfully, responding to 16 service calls and also completing numerous afloat training exercises and crew assessments during its time at Margate. The B class operates alongside the smaller D class inshore lifeboat.
Following acceptance trials, the new lifeboat Colonel Stock (B930) was today delivered by road to Margate where after the crew had checked the boat’s systems and equipment was formally placed on service allowing B815 to re-join the RNLI’s training lifeboat fleet.
The new lifeboat has been provided by The Stock Memorial Fund; an endowment fund set up back in 1887 by Anna Stock in memory of her husband Colonel Stock. Donations through this endowment have previously been used at Weston-super-Mare lifeboat station and it may well be one of the oldest endowment funds benefitting the RNLI.
The B class lifeboat is 8.44m long, has a normal crew of four and a survivor capacity of 20 persons. Twin 115hp Yamaha outboard engines produce a top speed of 35 knots and it has a range/endurance of three hours maximum. A new B class lifeboat costs £285,000 (including building, delivery and crew training) with a through life cost of £841,000 (cost for its entire useful life including refits and maintenance).
Derek Amas, Lifeboat Operations Manager, RNLI Margate said: “The relief lifeboat has served us well during the transition to our new way of working but there is nothing like having a lifeboat to call our own, it is the town’s lifeboat and an important part of the local community. We will look after this new addition to our family and look forward to it helping in our mission to save life at sea around Thanet’s coastline.”