Exmouth RNLI Shannon declared operational
At 7pm on 22 May, Channel Divisional Operations Manager, Richard Weeks placed the first Shannon in the South West, R and J Welburn on service at Exmouth RNLI.
After a week’s intensive training period, crew volunteers took part in a Pass Out assessment on the afternoon of 22 May. For seven consecutive days, teams of volunteers had launched at approximately 9am and recovered at approximately 6pm to learn drills and familiarise themselves with their new Shannon lifeboat.
Some dedicated volunteers had already spent a week away from their families and taken leave from employment to make this extra commitment towards preparing for their new state-of-the-art lifeboat.
Channel Divisional Operations Manager, Richard Weeks declared the first Shannon class lifeboat in the South West operational;
‘Today marks the end of an intensive period of familiarisation training for the volunteer crew on the new Shannon class lifeboat at RNLI Exmouth lifeboat station. I’m delighted to formally place R and J Welburn on service at Exmouth, starting a new era of rescue with this highly technical and capable lifeboat.’
R and J Welburn replaces the Mersey class Margaret Jean as the station’s all-weather lifeboat. After six years’ dependable service, the Mersey will return to the relief fleet at Poole once more. RNLB Margaret Jean was built as a relief Mersey class lifeboat in 1991 and for the last 20 years has served 18 of the charity’s lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland.
On 25 May at 9am, crew volunteers aboard the Shannon class R and J Welburn escorted RNLB Margaret Jean out of the Exe estuary for the very last time.