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Staithes has new lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Staithes and Runswick RNLI has a brand new, state of the art £235,000 lifeboat.

RNLI/Grant McKee

Dusk arrival at Staithes of new lifeboat Sheila & Dennis Tongue III
It arrived in Staithes this week on Monday [yesterday] evening and is due to be ready for active service on Friday.

The new inshore rescue boat is an Atlantic 85 rigid inflatable, the fastest boat in the RNLI fleet, with twin outboard engines capable of 35 knots.

The Atlantic 85 is the first RNLI inshore lifeboat to have radar, which means it can operate more effectively in reduced visibility. It is also bigger than its predecessor, with room for a fourth crew member as well as more space for casualties.

The new lifeboat is to be called Sheila & Dennis Tongue III in memory of the bequest of the late Dennis Tongue and his wife. Their bequest has funded three new lifeboats for the life-saving charity; the previous two are stationed at Sligo in Ireland and Looe in Cornwall

The arrival of the new boat on Monday afternoon’s high tide completed a journey of 350 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight where she was built and then overland to Whitby where she was launched to complete the last leg to Staithes by sea.

She will replace Staithes’ long-standing Atlantic 75, Pride of Leicester which has served the station since 2002. In that time she has launched 160 times, rescuing more than 150 people in trouble at sea and on the foreshore. Her crews have won numerous accolades for gallantry, including twice winning the RNLI’s prestigious Walter and Elizabeth Groombridge Award, given annually for the most deserving rescue by an inshore lifeboat.

“Pride of Leicester has served us proudly and splendidly in all conditions, day and night, summer and winter,” said Sean Baxter, Deputy Launch Authority at the Staithes station, “and we’ll be sorry to see such a faithful friend go. But we’re thrilled to have our new boat which will make us even more effective with its improved capability.”

He paid tribute to the donors Sheila & Dennis Tongue who had left a generous legacy to the RNLI in recognition of the vital life-saving work of the charity and as a thank-you for the happy days they spent living on the coast at Exmouth, in Devon.

The couple were born in Birmingham in the 1920s and on Dennis’s retirement they moved to Devon where they lived until their eighties, overlooking the coast. The couple did not have any children and it was during their retirement that they came to know and admire the work of the RNLI and recognise its place in the life of the communities it served.

The volunteer crews at Staithes are spending this week putting the new boat through trials at sea and launch exercises. At 8.4 metres long, she is longer and wider than the Atlantic 75 and two years ago the Staithes boathouse was given a major extension to allow the new boat to be housed along with its new carriage.

On the completion of the trials the new lifeboat is due to be on service from Friday and Pride of Leicester will go south to Poole to join the RNLI reserve fleet.

Next April will see the formal naming of Sheila & Dennis Tongue III at Staithes, a ceremony which will be marked by a visit by relatives of the late donors, a blessing by the RNLI chaplain Reverend Alan Coates, and in the tradition of the arrival of a new lifeboat at Staithes, a big village party.

NB note to subs the boat is formally called Sheila & Dennis Tongue III not Sheila AND Dennis Tongue III

Grant McKee 01947 841480


RNLI/Grant McKee

Staithes new lifeboat on exercise today

RNLI/Grant McKee

New lifeboat in Staithes harbour today

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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