By Beth Robson
A naming ceremony has been held today (September 23) for Margate’s new B Class Atlantic 85 lifeboat Colonel Stock.
The new £285,000 lifeboat was received from RNLI chairperson Janet Legrand KC (Hon) by Margate mayor Cllr Rob Yates and handed over to the station before being officially named by Margate RNLI’s former chaplain The Rev Brian Sharp.
Colonel Stock arrived on 2 March 2022 at Margate’s station, beside Turner Contemporary on the seafront promenade. In the 18 months that followed the vessel has taken part in 50 rescues and assisted in saving two lives.
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 be one of the oldest endowment funds benefitting the RNLI.
After the ceremony guests walked to the harbour arm to watch Colonel Stock enter the sea from its launch vehicle followed by a demonstration of the boat in action.
Margate volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager Derek (Del) Amas said: “Margate RNLI’s volunteer crew has adapted well with the arrival of the B class Atlantic 85 Lifeboat following a change of asset in 2021. The Atlantic 85 is the 3rd generation of the B class following the Atlantic 21 and Atlantic 75 respectively.
“The Atlantic 85 can reach a top speed of 35 knots and is a manoeuvrable and versatile craft enabling the crew to operate close inshore as well as operating in challenging conditions further out to sea.
“Since the arrival of Colonel Stock on station here at Margate the lifeboat has been tasked on 50 rescue missions and has assisted in saving two lives, the most memorable being a swimmer who had been missing for some four and a half hours.”
As well as the new B Class, the station has the D Class lifeboat Alfred Alexander Staden, part of a family of small inshore vessels which are particularly useful in search and rescue operations where close access to rocks and shallow water is required.
Since 1963, when the RNLI added inshore vessels to its fleet, 154,192 people have been aided and 30,778 lives have been saved.
As part of proceedings Del Amas was recognised with a long service award celebrating 30 years service, on the 30th anniversary of joining the institution. The award was presented by RNLI chairperson Janet Legrand.
In accepting the accolade he paid tribute to the ‘special crew’ at Margate who led him on the path to where he is today and who ‘continue day in and day out to exceed expectations of what they can do’.
Margate RNLI’s B Class Colonel Stock lifeboat can be seen at the lifeboat station, at The Rendezvous. The station is open to the public during the summer months. Group visits can be booked by appointment on 01843 221613.