Larne RNLI has received its new £48,000 D-class inshore lifeboat, funded by a trust in memory of a Holocaust survivor who loved sailing.
The new ship, named Terry, arrived at the Larne station on Tuesday July 21 and undertook its first exercise to Brown’s Bay on Thursday July 23.
The new vessel replaces the Hannahbella Ferguson inshore lifeboat, which was on service at the station from August 2005.
The new ship has been funded through a Trust named The Pistol Fund, which was set up in memory of Theresa (Terry) and Fred Pistol.
Fred was a Viennese survivor of the Holocaust who arrived in England at the age of 19. He lived in the Isle of Man and eventually became a Major in the army.
He was also a keen sailor and encouraged his family in his passion for sailing.
The new lifeboat will be officially named at a ceremony on September 19, the same date as Fred’s birthday.
Large crowds and members of the Pistol family are expected to attend.
Larne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Allan Dorman commented: ‘We are grateful to the Pistol Trust for the generous gift which has funded our new lifeboat.
“Obviously we are sad to see Hannahbella go but she gave us ten years of great service and I hope the donor family are justifiably proud of that record. “We will be the custodians of this new lifeboat and will remember Fred and Theresa through the work of the lifeboat and its volunteer crew, who I know will go on to rescue and save many lives in the years ahead.’
Trying out the new inshore lifeboat for the first time this week was Larne RNLI Helm Scott Leitch, who added: ‘The new lifeboat handled very well on its first exercise.
“We went up to Brown’s Bay and put it through its paces and it was excellent on the water.
“We look forward to many successful services with Terry over the next ten years.”
The D-class lifeboat is often referred to as the workhorse of the RNLI.
The inflatable craft is highly manoeuvrable and specifically suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations ,often working close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves. It has a single 50hp outboard engine and can be righted manually by the crew after a capsize.
“It can carry three crew members and five survivors.
Equipment includes fitted and hand-held VHF radio, night-vision equipment, and first-aid including oxygen.
The previous D class lifeboat, Hannahbella Ferguson, launched 97 times on service and brought 68 people to safety.
That lifeboat was donated by an Islandmagee family.