First-Shannon-class-lifeboat-welcomed-into-the-RNLIs-fleet

Byline: The first Shannon class all-weather lifeboat has today (Thursday 11 July) joined the RNLI’s fleet, following a special naming ceremony at RNLI College, Poole.
Page Content: Named ‘Jock and Annie Slater’ after a former RNLI Chairman Sir Jock Slater and his wife, Lady Slater, this lifeboat has joined the charity’s relief fleet and, as such, will see service all around the UK and Republic of Ireland during her expected 50 year operational life.

The Shannon is capable of 25 knots and is powered by water jets instead of propellers for increased manoeuvrability, making it the most agile all-weather lifeboat in the fleet.

This ceremony was the first official duty of the RNLI’s new Chairman, Charles Hunter-Pease, after he formally took up the role this morning at a meeting of the charity’s Council members. While, in contrast, it was Operations Director Michael Vlasto’s final official engagement before he retires tomorrow following a distinguished 38 year career with the lifesaving charity.

Following the ceremony, Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease said after only 4 hours in the job: ‘This is a wonderful way to start my chairmanship. It’s such a privilege to host a naming ceremony as it’s a chance for all of us to thank the incredibly generous donors who have funded this lifeboat and to highlight the lifesaving work carried out by our volunteer crews; exceptional men and women who need, deserve and get the very best equipment we can provide.’

During Michael’s 38 years at the RNLI, lifeboats have more than trebled in speed and major advances have been made in crew safety. Michael has overseen the progression from the 8-knot fleet of Oakley, Barnet, Watson and Rother class lifeboats to the new, technologically advanced, 25-knot lifeboats like the Severn and Tamar classes and now today’s new Shannon class.

Michael Vlasto, who officially accepted the lifeboat during the ceremony on behalf of the RNLI, said: ‘This was my last naming ceremony as RNLI Operations Director, but, as a result, I’ve had the honour of seeing our plans for a 25-knot fleet realised. This lifeboat, the first Shannon class, marks the final piece in that jigsaw.

‘When I joined the RNLI, I was visiting crews with 8 knot lifeboats. This one is three times as fast, and she is infinitely more manoeuvrable. She’s our first ever all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets, which also means she is safer to operate in shallows, and less likely to sustain damage during launch and recovery.’

Approximately 150 guests attended the ceremony, including RNLI Trustees, Council members, staff, contractors and lifeboat enthusiasts.

About the new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat
• It is the smallest and lightest of the RNLI’s 25-knot all-weather lifeboats designed specifically to be launched and recovered from a beach.
• As the Shannon is powered by water jets, these lifeboats can operate in shallow waters and the risk of damage to the vessel during launch and recovery, or when intentionally beached, is reduced.
• As with other all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon is inherently self-righting in the event of capsize and will be able to cope with the roughest of conditions.
• Over 50 new Shannon class lifeboats will need to be built within the next 10 years to replace many of the Mersey and Tyne classes of lifeboat, which are only capable of 17 and 18 knots respectively.
• Once the Shannon class is rolled out, every all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet will be capable of 25 knots, ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.
• The Shannon follows in a 45-year tradition of naming the charity’s lifeboats after rivers, and is the first time that the name of an Irish river has been used, reflecting the fact our volunteers save lives at sea around the coasts of the Republic of Ireland as well as the UK.

Notes to editors
• Attached are two images taken at this morning’s ceremony:
o ‘Shannon naming ceremony – Photo 1’ shows the newly named Jock and Annie Slater Shannon class lifeboat moored at RNLI HQ, Poole.
o ‘Shannon naming ceremony – Photo 2’ shows the boat turning in a circle, highlighting the vessel’s manoeuvrability. On board are, from left to right,  Tommy Cocking (Trials Coxswain), Neil Ceconi (Design Engineer) and Martyn Pitman (Trials Engineer).

• Click here to view a video clip of today’s ceremony. Further footage of the ceremony is available on request.

• The Shannon class all-weather lifeboat costs £2M to build.

• Sir Jock Slater was Chairman of the RNLI from July 2004 until November 2008.

• A senior manager in the motor industry, Charles Hunter-Pease worked for Volvo from 1973 until retiring in 2007. He became Senior Vice President of Volvo Car Corporation in Gothenburg in 1993 and acted as the Senior Adviser to the Management Team of Volvo Car Corporation from 1999 onwards. For over 20 years, Charles has used his management and business expertise as a volunteer, serving on various RNLI committees including fundraising, resources, remuneration, membership nomination and property, and has chaired the group leading the charity’s continuous improvement programme for the past 3 years.

• For more information about Michael Vlasto’s career with the RNLI, please click here.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Luke Blissett, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663184 or email luke_blissett@rnli.org.uk.

Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email pressoffice@rnli.org.uk. 

Byline: The first Shannon class all-weather lifeboat has today (Thursday 11 July) joined the RNLI’s fleet, following a special naming ceremony at RNLI College, Poole.
Page Content: Named ‘Jock and Annie Slater’ after a former RNLI Chairman Sir Jock Slater and his wife, Lady Slater, this lifeboat has joined the charity’s relief fleet and, as such, will see service all around the UK and Republic of Ireland during her expected 50 year operational life.

The Shannon is capable of 25 knots and is powered by water jets instead of propellers for increased manoeuvrability, making it the most agile all-weather lifeboat in the fleet.

This ceremony was the first official duty of the RNLI’s new Chairman, Charles Hunter-Pease, after he formally took up the role this morning at a meeting of the charity’s Council members. While, in contrast, it was Operations Director Michael Vlasto’s final official engagement before he retires tomorrow following a distinguished 38 year career with the lifesaving charity.

Following the ceremony, Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease said after only 4 hours in the job: ‘This is a wonderful way to start my chairmanship. It’s such a privilege to host a naming ceremony as it’s a chance for all of us to thank the incredibly generous donors who have funded this lifeboat and to highlight the lifesaving work carried out by our volunteer crews; exceptional men and women who need, deserve and get the very best equipment we can provide.’

During Michael’s 38 years at the RNLI, lifeboats have more than trebled in speed and major advances have been made in crew safety. Michael has overseen the progression from the 8-knot fleet of Oakley, Barnet, Watson and Rother class lifeboats to the new, technologically advanced, 25-knot lifeboats like the Severn and Tamar classes and now today’s new Shannon class.

Michael Vlasto, who officially accepted the lifeboat during the ceremony on behalf of the RNLI, said: ‘This was my last naming ceremony as RNLI Operations Director, but, as a result, I’ve had the honour of seeing our plans for a 25-knot fleet realised. This lifeboat, the first Shannon class, marks the final piece in that jigsaw.

‘When I joined the RNLI, I was visiting crews with 8 knot lifeboats. This one is three times as fast, and she is infinitely more manoeuvrable. She’s our first ever all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets, which also means she is safer to operate in shallows, and less likely to sustain damage during launch and recovery.’

Approximately 150 guests attended the ceremony, including RNLI Trustees, Council members, staff, contractors and lifeboat enthusiasts.

About the new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat
• It is the smallest and lightest of the RNLI’s 25-knot all-weather lifeboats designed specifically to be launched and recovered from a beach.
• As the Shannon is powered by water jets, these lifeboats can operate in shallow waters and the risk of damage to the vessel during launch and recovery, or when intentionally beached, is reduced.
• As with other all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon is inherently self-righting in the event of capsize and will be able to cope with the roughest of conditions.
• Over 50 new Shannon class lifeboats will need to be built within the next 10 years to replace many of the Mersey and Tyne classes of lifeboat, which are only capable of 17 and 18 knots respectively.
• Once the Shannon class is rolled out, every all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet will be capable of 25 knots, ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.
• The Shannon follows in a 45-year tradition of naming the charity’s lifeboats after rivers, and is the first time that the name of an Irish river has been used, reflecting the fact our volunteers save lives at sea around the coasts of the Republic of Ireland as well as the UK.


Notes to editors
• Attached are two images taken at this morning’s ceremony:
o ‘Shannon naming ceremony – Photo 1’ shows the newly named Jock and Annie Slater Shannon class lifeboat moored at RNLI HQ, Poole.
o ‘Shannon naming ceremony – Photo 2’ shows the boat turning in a circle, highlighting the vessel’s manoeuvrability. On board are, from left to right,  Tommy Cocking (Trials Coxswain), Neil Ceconi (Design Engineer) and Martyn Pitman (Trials Engineer).

• Click here to view a video clip of today’s ceremony. Further footage of the ceremony is available on request.

• The Shannon class all-weather lifeboat costs £2M to build.

• Sir Jock Slater was Chairman of the RNLI from July 2004 until November 2008.

• A senior manager in the motor industry, Charles Hunter-Pease worked for Volvo from 1973 until retiring in 2007. He became Senior Vice President of Volvo Car Corporation in Gothenburg in 1993 and acted as the Senior Adviser to the Management Team of Volvo Car Corporation from 1999 onwards. For over 20 years, Charles has used his management and business expertise as a volunteer, serving on various RNLI committees including fundraising, resources, remuneration, membership nomination and property, and has chaired the group leading the charity’s continuous improvement programme for the past 3 years.

• For more information about Michael Vlasto’s career with the RNLI, please click here.


RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Luke Blissett, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663184 or email luke_blissett@rnli.org.uk.

Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.