A new Atlantic-85 class inshore lifeboat has officially entered service at Lough Derg RNLI.
The volunteer crew at Lough Derg have undergone intensive training over recent months in preparation for the new lifeboat ‘Jean Spier’ to be officially declared a search and rescue asset.
The lifeboat will now replace Elsinore, the station’s outgoing Atlantic 75 lifeboat which while on service on Lough Derg since November 2015, launched 51 times with her crews coming to the aid of 163 people.
Fast, manoeuvrable and reliable, the Atlantic 85 operates in rough weather conditions, capable in daylight up to force seven and at night, to force six winds.
The new lifeboat, an Atlantic 85 is the latest version of the B class, introduced into the fleet in 2005. The lifeboat is 8.5 metres in length and weighs 1.9 tonnes. Improvements on its predecessor include a faster top speed of 35 knots, radar, provision for a fourth crew member and more space for casualties.
She is powered by two 115 horsepower engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed than her predecessor. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and she also has VHF direction-finding equipment.
The vessel also has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which combined with inversion-proofed engines keep the lifeboat operational even after capsize. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.
The Atlantic 85 carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.
The new lifeboat was donated to the RNLI by Robert Spier and his late wife Jean Spier. In 2016, Robert and Jean who were active supporters of the RNLI, intended that together they would donate a new lifeboat to the charity, and were delighted when the Atlantic 85 became available to support. Sadly, Jean died in October 2017. The new lifeboat is named Jean Spier in her honour.
Speaking following the new lifeboat going on service, Liam Moloney, Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are delighted following the excitement of our lifeboat arriving and now after months of preparation and intensive training by our committed volunteer crew, that our lifeboat is officially on service.
‘While we had an excellent search and rescue asset in the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, the 85 has the improvements of four stroke engines, radar, room for four crew and an extra metre of length. We are confident this will be a great resource on the lake and appreciate the RNLI’s investment in our lifeboat station.
‘The crew would like to express a special thanks to Helena Duggan, the RNLI’s Trainer Assessor and her training colleagues for their continued dedicated support and specialist guidance over the last few months in preparation for the lifeboat to go live.’
Niamh McCutcheon, Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Chair added: ‘I welcome the arrival of the Atlantic 85 kindly donated in memory of the late Jean Spier to Lough Derg.’