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Youngest RNLI Shannon Coxswain-Mechanic brings new lifeboat into Girvan

Lifeboats News Release

Scotland’s second Shannon Class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan (13-23), was welcomed by hundreds of people in Girvan on Sunday with Callum Govus (25) at the helm.

The first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets, which costs £2.1m to build, arrived in Girvan harbour to be greeted by hundreds of local supporters, RNLI volunteers, the RNLI mascot Stormy Stan and, of course, Santa Claus. The Shannon arrived into Girvan at 1323 (1.23pm) exactly, matching the number on the side of the lifeboat. The spectators looked on as Callum and the Shannon’s volunteer crew demonstrated the new lifeboat’s exceptional capabilities. The Shannon’s ability to stop almost instantly and turn within in its own length received rounds of applause and cheers from those on the harbour walls.

Callum, Girvan Lifeboat Station’s full-time Coxswain-Mechanic, joined the RNLI as a volunteer eight years ago, the day after his 17th birthday (the minimum age for RNLI volunteers). Callum was inspired to join by his teacher and mentor, Davie Butcher, who was Girvan’s second coxswain and who, sadly, passed away just before Callum joined the crew. Callum is now one of RNLI’s very few full-time lifeboat crew.

Speaking about the influence that Davie had on his life and his pride at bringing home Girvan’s new lifeboat, Callum said: ‘Davie was more than just a role model. There is no way I’d have this amazing honour if it wasn’t for him. I owe him everything and I’ll definitely be thinking of him when I bring the Shannon into harbour, hopefully in front of Davie’s family’.

Callum and his volunteer crew will now continue training with the new lifeboat in the waters surrounding Girvan. The crew have already undergone extensive training at the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole and during the passage from Poole to Girvan however, this week will give them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their boat in local waters.

The Shannon class lifeboat is the RNLI’s latest and most advanced all-weather lifeboat and the first to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers. The lifeboat’s water-jets allow the vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached as well as to manoeuvre precisely in hazardous conditions such as when operating alongside a stricken vessel.

Capable of 25 knots, the new lifeboat is 50% faster than RNLB Silvia Burrell, the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat she will replace. Silvia Burrell has been the Girvan lifeboat for the past 24 years but has now come to the end of her operational life.

Girvan’s lifeboat station’s volunteer crew and all the station volunteers would like to thank the public for their great show of support on Sunday.

RNLI media contacts

Gemma McDonald, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07826 900639

Henry Weaver, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07771 943026

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

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For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives. The RNLI is a charity registered in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

Nigel Millard

Nigel Millard

Donald McClymont

Girvan's outgoing lifeboat greets the new Shannon just outside the harbour

Donald McClymont

Girvan lifeboat crew demonstrating the Shannon's capabilities

Donald McClymont

Girvan's volunteer lifeboat crew with youngest Shannon Coxswain Callum Govus

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland