Caister Lifeboat's 'world-leading' vessel is taking shape

The new lifeboat

The 45-foot lifeboat is expected to be in service from March 2023. - Credit: Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service

The development of a "world-leading" lifeboat is taking shape ahead of its use to save lives off the Norfolk coast.

Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service's new 45-foot-long, £1.6m Medina-class vessel is being built by Walker Marine Design.

It will replace the voluntary service's boat, the Bernard Matthews II, which has saved 54 lives over its 17 years in action.

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, wave from the new Caister lif

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, wave from the new Caister lifeboat. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Caister Lifeboat's assistant coxswain Richard Thurlow has been tasked with taking regular trips to the Isle of Wight to oversee the project.

"The build is going really well," he said. "And the new boat will be world-leading.

"With the amount of systems being put into place, and with all the latest technology, our new boat will be the first in its class."

The new Medina vessel is being built with the latest search and rescue equipment and advanced technology. She is expected to be in service for at least 25 years.

"It definitely takes a lot of work," Mr Thurlow said.

"The amount of work that goes into making sure everything is alright is incredible.

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"But, she's fully fabricated and now actually looks like a boat. She's very silver in her bare aluminium form, but she's looking good."

The new lifeboat is being kitted out with electrics and engine management systems.

"They are all the things people don't see, but are crucial for operations," Mr Thurlow said.

"The boat is just about to get its first coat of primer and then looked over for tolerance and safety checks.

"We really want the boat to look A1."

Recently, the build had hit a small snag with due to delivery delays, but Mr Thurlow said: "A month is neither here nor there for a boat which will be in use for over 20 years."

The vessel will soon be undergoing speed runs and an endurance run to both trial the boat and its trailer before the finishing touches and the distinctive paintwork is applied.

In March, the independent lifeboat launched its Keep the Boat Afloat fundraising campaign for the new vessel.

The boat is expected to be in service by March 2023.

Caister was the first independent lifeboat crew in the country and its volunteers have been saving lives since 1791.

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, with Caister Lifeboat's flag,

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, with Caister Lifeboat's flag, and the lifeboat crew at the Town Hall. From left, Guy Gibson, coxswain; Richard Thurlow, assistant Coxswain; and Paul Garrod, chairman. - Credit: Denise Bradley

For more information and to help fund the new lifeboat, visit Caister Lifeboat's website at www.caisterlifeboat.org.uk