A NEW inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat has officially gone on service at Union Hall RNLI in West Cork, funded through the legacy of the late Raymond Fielding.
The lifeboat arrived at the Cork lifeboat station last week and was officially declared a search and rescue asset by the Irish Coast Guard on Thursday.
It replaces the last Atlantic 75 in Ireland, Margaret Bench of Solihull, which has been used to save lives at sea in West Cork since 2017, following on from Maritime Nation, which was in service from 2014.
The new lifeboat has been funded through a legacy from the late Raymond Fielding who along with his wife, Christine, was a keen sailor.
Raymond and his wife Christine sailed into Glandore Harbour many times over the years. Due to his many fond memories of West Cork, he wanted his legacy to fund an Atlantic 85 class lifeboat and he requested that it came to Union Hall.
The Christine and Raymond Fielding will be officially named at a special naming ceremony and service of dedication at Union Hall lifeboat station at a later date.
The Atlantic 85 design allows room for four crew members and more kit than the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, which only had room for three crew members.
The lifeboat is powered by two 115 horsepower engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.
The vessel also has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which combined with inversion-proofed engines keeps the lifeboat operational even after capsize.
The Atlantic 85 which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005 also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.
John Kelleher, Union Hall RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said they are “extremely grateful” to Raymond Fielding for his generous legacy donation which has funded the permanent lifeboat at Union Hall.
“We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years to come.”