First callout for Jock and Annie Slater at Wicklow
The Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater slipped her moorings at 10.45am this morning (Tuesday 9 April), to go to the assistance of a whelk fishing vessel with engine failure 8 miles north of Wicklow harbour.
The lifeboat under the command of Second Coxswain Ciaran Doyle located the drifting vessel two miles east of Kilcoole at 11.10am. Weather conditions in the area at the time were wind easterly force five, with moderate sea.
A towline was quickly established, and the trawler was taken in tow. The fishing vessel and three crew were brought safely alongside the south quay shortly after 12.30pm. This was the first callout for the Shannon class lifeboat which went on station last Friday.
The callout comes during a very busy period at Wicklow RNLI, as the Jock and Annie Slater replaced Annie Blaker, the last Tyne class lifeboat in the RNLI Fleet, which was officially retired on Friday (4 April) after thirty years of service with Wicklow lifeboat station.
The slipway launched lifeboat has been the busiest all-weather lifeboat in the history of the station, being involved in over 340 services, rescuing over 400 people, since her arrival in 1989.
The final callout for Annie Blaker came on Thursday evening (3 April), when Coxswain Nick Keogh and a volunteer crew launched to assist two sailors on a yacht with a rope fouled propeller, nine miles off the Wicklow coast.
Annie Blaker has been replaced by the relief fleet Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater. This lifeboat will operate from temporary facilities at the South Quay, while the slipway and station are redeveloped to accommodate a new permanent lifeboat, which is expected to arrive in 2022.
Wicklow RNLI Operations Manager Des Davit commented: 'This month will be bittersweet for all of us involved in Wicklow Lifeboat station. We will be saying goodbye to a magnificent boat, the last Tyne in the fleet, the Annie Blaker.
At the same time, thanks to a magnificent effort of skill, determination and commitment by the crew just one month after her arrival Lifeboat 13-01, The Jock and Annie Slater went on service. Because of the skill of the crew and their huge commitment to training this new, state of the art lifeboat went on service much earlier than anticipated.
We hope to have a farewell party for 'Annie' later in the month so keep an eye out for more information on this both in the press and on social media.’
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.