The RNLI is due to make a major investment in lifesaving on the east coast with huge changes coming to Wicklow RNLI. The station currently has the honour of being the last RNLI station with a Tyne class lifeboat in service. A relief Shannon class lifeboat will soon be based at Wicklow, the lifeboat is the fastest and most technologically advanced in the fleet, and the current Tyne lifeboat will then be officially be taken off service. All of this is to facilitate a permanent Shannon class lifeboat, to be based at Wicklow in a few years’ time.
The Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater, due to arrive in Wicklow on Sunday 24th February at 2:30pm will be a ‘relief’ lifeboat as the Tyne class lifeboat Annie Blaker is coming to the end of her service. This lifeboat has been the busiest all-weather lifeboat in the history of the station, being involved in over 340 services, rescuing over 400 people. It will be a bitter-sweet time for the crew, station management and fundraisers with the arrival of the new and the departure of Annie.
The relief lifeboat, which will eventually be replaced by a permanent Shannon for Wicklow, will have a temporary berth at the South quay. Each lifeboat class has a unique slip to launch from and as the Shannon is very different to the Tyne class, this temporary mooring, near the station, will support it until Wicklow receives its permanent Shannon lifeboat. Work will need to be undertaken to support the exciting changes at Wicklow and this will be undertaken in full consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Commenting on the changes Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Des Davitt said, ‘The confidence displayed by the RNLI Council and Trustees, who have given the go-ahead for this major investment, is a testament to the service of all crew, committees and fundraising teams, past and present. History is in the making as the newest fastest state of the art lifeboat is about to arrive. Already our Coxswains and Mechanics have attended training in Poole and a crew from our station has been tasked with bringing the Shannon class lifeboat into Wicklow on Sunday 24th February where the rest of the crew will receive training from the Fleet Staff Coxswains.’
‘Over the next three years major work will be carried out on the station and slip to accommodate the arrival of our own Shannon in early 2022. None of this would be possible without the magnificent support of the people, businesses and organisations of Wicklow and environs. It is an exciting time for all involved and indeed for the people of Wicklow.’