Volunteers have welcomed news of a forthcoming arrival to help save lives at sea.
Crew at Blyth RNLI are delighted to hear of successful trials for the Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat.
It means that the upgraded Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat will come into service at Blyth in 2020, once construction work has been completed to enable it and the current D-Class lifeboat, D-746 Alan & Amy, to operate effectively at the existing station.
Following an extensive review of the coastline by the RNLI in 2015, and the recent a trial of the Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat, it was confirmed that an Atlantic 85 would effectively meet the needs of the area as Blyth waterfront continues to develop and see an increase in demand from sports, recreational and leisure marine users.
The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat is one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet, with a top speed of 35 knots.
Barry Pearson, lifeboat operations manager at Blyth RNLI, said: “The volunteer crew at the station have been working incredibly hard during the trial and that investment is demonstrated with the arrival of the new Atlantic 85 lifeboat confirmed for 2020.
“The public can be reassured that the cover provided by the RNLI around the local coast is comprehensive.
“There has been concern that since the RNLI all-weather lifeboat left Blyth in 2004 that cover has reduced, but in fact the RNLI has improved the coverage available for the nature of incidents that take place on the coast.”
The Atlantic 85 comes with radar capability and VHF direction-finding equipment, which aids finding a casualty vessel in restricted visibility, and can have a maximum crew of four.
The existing D-Class Alan & Amy and the B-Class Vic & Billie Whiffen will remain in service at Blyth whilst the works are undertaken.
As well as confirmation of the new lifeboat, work is under way at the station to improve the facilities and provide more opportunities for the community to visit and see the lifesaving operation.