Posted: 3 October 2020

Dart RNLI Atlantic 85 called to three large vessels in a week

Photo: Andy Kyle
Dart RNLI volunteers helping the crew of a dismasted yacht

RNLI Dart News update 30 Sept 2020
The decision of the RNLI Trustees to permanently station an Atlantic 85 on the River Dart is already paying for itself.
Launch 451. On Saturday 19 September the Dart volunteers were able to respond in the Atlantic lifeboat to a Mayday call from a 33ft yacht with three onboard as they crossed the Skerries bank in Start Bay in 25knot winds and a two metre swell. They were able to reach the three uninjured yachtsmen very quickly, aided by their VHF radio direction finding capabilities, but the tow back against the wind and sea took an hour and three quarters.
Launch 542 The following day a single handed sailor on a 45ft yacht requested help in the same area when he suffered engine failure and was unable to make progress under sail. The yacht was towed to Dartmouth Harbour.
Launch 453 Exactly a week later a 45ft motor vessel struck a rock as it left the Dart estuary and started to take on water. It needed all the power of the Atlantic 85 to tow her quickly to Darthaven marina where she was lifted out of the water and the damage was assessed.
If these three incidents had occurred when there was only a D class inflatable lifeboat available the Coastguard would have had to task the all-weather Salcombe Tamar lifeboat to come from round Start Point. The Atlantic 85 was able to quickly respond to the vessel taking on water whereas; even at a top speed of 25knots, it would have taken some time for the Tamar to reach her. It is also considerably more expensive for the RNLI to launch an all-weather lifeboat than the B class.
For more photos and details of all launches please look on this website.

Saving Lives at Sea.
Launch 310. Episode 3 of the new series highlights the RNLI lifeguards on Blackpool Sands working with the Dart lifeboat crew to help an injured swimmer. The episode is at a different time from the first two. It is on BBC 2 at 8pm on Tuesday 6 October. The date of the further episodes has not yet been released.

John Fenton
RNLI Dart Lifeboat press officer.


Posted: 10 September 2020

RNLI Dart’s Atlantic 85 became operational earlier than expected

Photo: Andy Kyle/RNLI
B-825 is ready to go

After a period of intensive training at RNLI Dart the Atlantic 85 lifeboat, B-825, was officially recognised as a Search and Rescue asset by HM Coastguard on 28 August 2020.
This means that there are now two lifeboats at the station. The D class inflatable lifeboat, D838 Dudley Jane is housed in the lifeboat station and B-825, Norma Ethel Vinall, is kept on an enlarged Aquadock attached to a pontoon in the harbour.

The volunteer crew and trainers had been using every opportunity to learn more about the Atlantic 85 ever since the decision by the RNLI Trustees in early July that the two year trial of an Atlantic lifeboat on the Dart had been successful.

Mark Strudwick, Dart Lifeboat Operations manager, was keen to highlight that the new boat not only brings increased capability to deal with the situations she is tasked to in Start Bay and for 10 miles upstream on the river Dart, but also is safer for the four crew who are now seated and strapped into a self-righting lifeboat.

Kevin Murphy, helm on both the boats, described having the Atlantic 85 as “Moving us up a league.” Not only does a helm have to deal with increased windage on the boat and power from the two 115hp 4 stroke engines, but also has to keep command of all the tasks such as navigation, radar, VHF direction finding and communication being carried out by the crew.
“A game changer is the inter-communication between the crew,” said Kevin. “All the crew have headsets and microphones and communication within the boat, with the Coastguard and with casualty vessels is far clearer for all concerned.”

Training will continue for all the volunteers, helms and crew, but the area covered by RNLI Dart has just become a safer place to be, on and in the water.


Posted: 28 August 2020

Dart RNLI gets out for a photo call

Photo: Sophie Rennie

All 3 boats were out for training and Dart's Lifeboat Operations Manager Mark Strudwick saw an opportunity for a photo call. Not that they were racing but it has to be said that the little D-Class is a feisty bit of kit!

Photo: Sophie Rennie
Photo: Sophie Rennie

Posted: 18 August 2020

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Norma Ethel Vinall, 18 Aug 2020

Photo: John Fenton RNLI Dart LPO
B825 was taken for a brief familiarisation exercise in Dartmouth harbour after her launch

Today, 18 August 2020, Dart Lifeboat station took delivery of an Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) which has come after a successful two year trial to determine the effectiveness of a second lifeboat in the river Dart.  Approval was granted by RNLI Trustees earlier this year to replace the aging trials boat, an Atlantic 75 with the larger, more modern and capable Atlantic 85. The new boat features an additional 4th crew seat, as well as an integrated communications system, radar and direction-finding equipment to enhance its Search and Rescue capability, along with advanced navigation systems. Powered by powerful twin 115hp four stroke engines, the lifeboat is also faster and more economical than its predecessor, and is also friendlier to the environment.

Dart Lifeboat crew will be undertaking numerous training evolutions over the coming weeks to thoroughly familiarise themselves with the operation of this very capable craft, and the boat will finally go on service later this autumn once the supporting infrastructure is in place.

The photo by John Fenton, RNLI Dart LPO, shows B825 Norma Ethel Vinall, in Dartmouth harbour this morning. There are additional photos of the event in the photo gallery on this web site.

Nigel Jones. S Devon Area Lifesaving Manager


Posted: 17 July 2020

Successful trial of B class lifeboat for Dart Lifeboat station

Photo: Andy Kyle/RNLI
Atlantic 75 lifeboat on trial during a joint shout recently with the RNLI Dart D clas

Great news for the RNLI Dart volunteers.
The two year trial to assess the suitability of placing an RNLI B class inshore lifeboat in Dartmouth has been completed. The trial commenced with Salcombe’s ex Atlantic 75 lifeboat on 9 September 2018, to work alongside the D class lifeboat. In particular the Operational Director of the RNLI wished to be very clear about the frequency and type of tasking requests that are placed on the D class lifeboat that are near the limit of the guidelines for its use and capability, including crew safety factors.

On 7 July Mark Strudwick, Lifeboat Operations Manager for the RNLI Dart lifeboat Station, received a letter informing him that the Trustees of the institution had approved the recommendation of the Operations Committee for the permanent allocation of a B class lifeboat at the Dart Lifeboat Station. Although the trial had not run for the full two years it was proven that the desired effect on lifesaving capability had been met which resulted in an earlier than expected approval.

During the trial the Atlantic 75 was launched at the request of the Coastguard, 50 times, saved two lives and assisted 97 people. She was also launched 114 times on exercise, which highlighted the exceptional commitment of the Dart volunteers. During the same period the D class lifeboat was launched 30 times, saved one life and aided 44 people.
Atlantic 75 lifeboats are being phased out and being replaced by the larger, faster and even more capable Atlantic 85.

The date of the arrival of an Atlantic 85, commencing with one from the Relief fleet, depends on when training the crew how to convert from working on a 75 to an 85 can commence. Training restrictions are currently in place due to the Coronavirus. It is expected that the Atlantic 85 will operate from a modification to the Aquadoc which the Atlantic 75 is currently working from.


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Devon TQ6 9RR

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