RESCUES in the seas off Stonehaven will be more speedily effected now our volunteer crew have undertaken the training necessary to operate one of the fastest inshore boats operated by the RNLI.
The brand new B Class Atlantic 85, delivered to the town’s lifeboat station carries four crew members and uses two Yamaha 4-stroke 115 hp engines to reach speeds up to 35 knots.
But it’s not just the bigger engines that will enable a faster recovery of sailors in distress.
Lifeboat helm Keith Gaskin said the onboard radar, communications and navigation equipment would also make a huge difference to each rescue – especially in foggy conditions, which used to mean boats from Aberdeen or Montrose had to assist.
”Now, we have VHF radio direction finding equipment. If we talk to the casualty, we can triangulate on their position,” he said.
”And each boat will have AIS, an automatic identification system, which means we can find out about the boat.”
One further boon for the crew, will be the ease of communication brought by the Atlantic 85’s intercom system.
”There will be no more shouting,” said Mr Gaskin. ”And everyone is aware of what is going on.”
All of this new equipment has meant an arduous week of training sessions starting at 8am and lasting late into the night, so the crew reach the standard required by RNLI to allow them to take B-919 Jamie Hunter to sea.
Mr Gaskin added: ”The crew are all volunteers, so the guys have taken holidays to do this.”
More information about the Atlantic 85 is available on the RNLI website.