Lifeboat crew show off their new craft

The crew and shore helpers of Happisburgh lifeboat were showing off their new Atlantic 75 class boat on Sunday - as they celebrated its full operational status.

The crew and shore helpers of Happisburgh lifeboat were showing off their new Atlantic 75 class boat on Sunday - as they celebrated its full operational status.

The boat, named The Friendly Forester II, has been on station since the beginning of the month, but this weekend was the first time it was ready and able to answer emergency calls if necessary.

The B class will be used alongside the existing D class boat to extend the capabilities of the RNLI on the north east Norfolk coast.

Although there are several independent lifeboat stations nearby, at Mundesley, Sea Palling and Caister, Happisburgh's neighbouring RNLI stations are as far apart as Cromer and Gorleston.


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'The idea is that it fills the gap between those two stations,' said station spokesman Philip Smith.

'The D-class is designed to operate close to shore, whereas the Atlantic can go 35 miles straight out to sea, so its duties could for instance include going out to rig supply vessels if they are having problems a long way out.'

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Mr Smith said the crew and shore helpers had spent the past year training and preparing for the arrival of the Atlantic lifeboat, which will now serve a two year trial and may end up a permanent fixture if its need is proven.

'At the beginning of April the Atlantic arrived and this was the start of seven days intense training to ensure the safe operation of the boat, tractor, trailer and crew.

'The divisional inspector carried out the on station training and once completed to his satisfaction the Atlantic was able to join the D class on operational duties.'

The Atlantic has enhanced navigational and safety equipment plus more space to carry casualties, as well as a better towing capability.

The construction of a new boathouse, albeit temporary, is the next stage in the project. It will house both lifeboats with crew accommodation above.

Anyone would like to join the crew or shore helpers should contact the station by calling 01692 583269 or meeting other members during Sunday morning training.

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