Work about to start on new Lyme lifeboat

The Atlantic 85 wil be faster and fitted with more high-tech equipment

WORK is set to begin on building a new high-speed lifeboat for Lyme Regis.

News that the crew were to get an upgraded vessel – faster and better equipped - was confirmed during this year’s record-breaking lifeboat week.

Now they have been told that its construction is about to start at the charity’s centre at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight.

The RNLI’s head of fleet operations, Hugh Fogarty, said the new boat should be ready by the end of January, with delivery to Lyme Regis a short time later.

The a B-class Atlantic 85 will replace the Atlantic 75, named Pearl of Dorset, which has served the resort since 1997. A name for the new boat has yet to be decided.

Mr Fogarty said: “The new boat is faster – capable of 35 knots – and is fitted with the latest equipment including radar.

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“It is also one metre longer with room for four crew members – instead of three on the old boat – and there is more space on deck.”

Costing around �180,000, the new vessel is eagerly awaited by the crew.

Mark Colley, a helmsman for six years, said: “We’ll be sorry to see the Pearl of Dorset go, but we are also delighted to be getting a brand new boat.”

For a short time, Lyme Regis will have two lifeboats while the crew train in the new vessel, officially known as B-857.

Mr Colley added: “We will have to familiarise ourselves with the new boat which will have technology such as radar and GPS.”

** Photos by Richard Horobin and Rob Inett.