Marine Specialised Technology (MST) has played a part in continuing a 105 year tradition of saving lives from the small fishing village St Abbs, located on the southeastern coast of Scotland, in Berwickshire, by delivering a new, state-of-the-art Rigid Inflatable Rescue Lifeboat.
St Abbs has long been a popular destination for scuba divers and is one of the UK’s premiere locations for beginners and experienced divers alike. The sea around the village is unusually clear, in contrast to the silt-laden coastal waters to the north and south –and as well as divers attracts anglers, walkers, surfers, kayakers, sailors and birdwatchers from all over the country.
Controversially, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) removed the lifeboat service from St Abbs in 2015, despite a high profile, locally-run campaign against the decision. From this point the community of St Abbs ran a determined campaign to raise funds for the establishment of an independent lifeboat station.
Crucially, a major donation from the owner of famous teacake and caramel wafer maker, Tunnock’s, was a turning point in bringing back a lifeboat into operation at St Abbs. The owner of Tunnock’s, Boyd Tunnock, agreed to give £250,000 to the appeal for an independent station at St Abbs. The lifeboat is to be named ‘Thomas Tunnock’, the name of both Mr Tunnock’s grandfather (and the founder of Tunnock’s business) and also his late brother. A traditional lifeboat naming ceremony will take place on September 17th 2016.
Boyd Tunnock’s donation has allowed operations to return to St Abbs, but a further £250,000 is required to provide long-term financial support to the independently run station. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/stabbs-lifeboat
MST’s Group Sales Director Philip Hilbert comments ‘We at MST are proud to supply what will be one of the speediest and most hi-tech lifeboats in the country. The new, independently run St Abbs lifeboat station will ensure the St Abbs legacy of saving lives will continue in their very special waters.’
The lifeboat recently delivered to St Abbs by MST is the Rigid Inflatable Boat 900W Model, adapted for use as a lifeboat and powered by twin OBM Mercury Optimax 200 Horse Power units, modified with a Post Immersion Restart System. With an expected speed of up to 40 knots (to be confirmed after testing) and a range of 150 nautical miles, the lifeboat will be able to carry up to 12 passengers, on top of the crew.
The Lifeboat Appeal Charity chairman Alistair Crowe stated ‘The new boat is ideal for search and rescue capabilities along the Berwickshire coast and it will be one of the quickest and most technologically advanced lifeboats in the UK. Over the last few months a lot of hard work has gone into preparing our lifeboat house to accommodate the new lifeboat and over the next few months our crew will be trained on how to operate and handle our impressive new lifeboat and all the new equipment. ’
Already built to satisfy the Rescue Boat Code, the crew and committee will continue to liaise closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to satisfy their criteria for achieving ‘Declared Facility Status’.
‘We at MST are recognised as one the largest and one of the world’s leading designers of rigid inflatables and high speed lifeboats.’ continues Hilbert. ‘MST supports and services operations in 21 countries globally, with deployment in all oceans to support law enforcement, naval, rescue, patrol, special operations, fisheries and conservation. 105 years of life-saving is a proud legacy for the village of St Abbs. We at MST look forward to the next century of bravery and outstanding service from the volunteers and community of St Abbs.’
Photography: Peter Nisbet, Helen Gibson.
For more information visit: www.stabbslifeboat.org.uk
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