New lifeboat and new station for Loch Ness RNLI after busiest year
The volunteer crew based in Drumnadrochit have a new lifeboat station and a new lifeboat, 2017 was their busiest year and 2018 will mark their 10th anniversary as an RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat station.
The current station was built on Temple Pier, Drumnadrochit by the Coastguard as a base for their rescue boat in 1996. The service was taken over by the RNLI in 2008 and now, as we approach the 10th anniversary of the RNLI lifeboat station on Loch Ness, the RNLI is proud to announce the completion of a new lifeboat station on Loch Ness.
Loch Ness Lifeboat Station is holding an open day on Saturday 3 March so if you’d like to come along and meet the crew, see the new station and witness the capabilities of the new lifeboat, please come along between 11am and 3pm. The station is currently recruiting new volunteers to join the team. You can follow Loch Ness RNLI Team on Facebook for more details.
As well as a new station, Loch Ness has a new lifeboat. The Atlantic 75 class lifeboat is one of the last of her kind and has reached the end of her operational life. In line with the rest of the RNLI she has been replaced by a larger, faster, more advanced Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat.
Lifeboat Operations Manager Joanna Stebbings said:
‘We’re so pleased to be moving into our new station, the old boathouse has served us well for nearly ten years but it’s little more than an extended garage. It will be a huge step forward to have proper changing facilities, a space for training and somewhere we can get the kettle on and warm up after being out on the lifeboat.
‘As well as keeping the crew warm, it will be far better for the new lifeboat to be kept out of the weather and inside the station. The old boat has had it tough over the years and winter after winter left out in the elements has taken its toll.’
RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, Stuart Gudgeon said:
‘The crew at Loch Ness Lifeboat Station are dedicated to what they do. Like all RNLI volunteer crew they have day jobs, but when they turn up at the station they operate the boat like full-time professional mariners.
‘We’re proud to have such a committed team of volunteers serving our community and dedicating themselves to saving lives on the loch. Thanks to the generosity of the donors and the public, we’re delighted to be able to provide them with both a new lifeboat and lifeboat station so they may safely carry out their duties for the foreseeable future.’
Some additional features of the Atlantic 85 over the lifeboat she replaces are: speed, 35 rather than 32 knots, radar, VHF direction finding equipment for locating casualty vessels, the ability to carry an additional fourth crew member, increased endurance and an intercom so the crew can communicate with each other more effectively.
The new project cost £2.7 million and was largely funded by a generous bequest from Mrs Agnes Barr. The Barr family have a history of supporting the RNLI in Scotland and Mrs Barr’s brother was a keen sailor.
The B class Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Sheila & Dennis Tongue IV was built in-house by the RNLI and cost £214,000. The lifeboat was paid for by Dennis Tongue who left provisions in his Will to purchase four Atlantic class lifeboats, the Loch Ness lifeboat being the last of the four. Dennis Tongue passed away in 2014 and lived in Exeter, Devon.
Notes to Editor
- Loch Ness Lifeboat was called out 33 times in 2017
- For more information about the Atlantic class lifeboats please visit https://rnli.org/what-we-do/lifeboats-and-stations/our-lifeboat-fleet/b-class-lifeboat
- A list of the previous lifeboats funded by Dennis Tongue:
Sligo Bay - B888 – Sheila & Dennis Tongue – on service November 2015
Looe – B894 – Sheila & Dennis Tongue II – on service August 2016
Staithes &Runswick – B897 – Sheila & Dennis Tongue III – on service February 2017
Pictures (credit RNLI/Henry Weaver)
- The new Loch Ness Lifeboat Sheila & Dennis Tongue IV (right) alongside the old lifeboat the Colin James Daniel (left)
- The new lifeboat and the new station
- Some of the crew outside the new station
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Gemma McDonald, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07826 900639, firstname.lastname@example.org
RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789
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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland