EASTBOURNE’S new RNLI lifeboat will arrive in the town on Tuesday (May 29).
The brand new £2.7 million lifeboat will have a send off at the RNLI headquarters in Poole before making its way down to Newhaven and then across to Eastbourne’s Sovereign Harbour at around 3pm.
It is hoped the new boat, named Diamond Jubilee, will be greeted by flag waving school children and excited locals at the harbour locks.
Bob Jeffery from the Eastbourne’s RNLI team said it was an occasion worth marking.
He said, “The new generation of Tamar lifeboats have a life span of about 50 years, so this really is a once in a lifetime event.
“We hope as many people as possible will come down to welcome the new boat in to the lock. It will be a very exciting day.”
The lifeboat will arrive with the Newhaven Lifeboat and the Hastings Lifeboat.
Bob added, “They will come in as close as they can to the shore depending on the tides. I believe it will be mid-tide at 3pm on Tuesday, so they won’t be able to come too close. Hopefully people will also be able to see it from the beach but the best place to be will be Sovereign Harbour locks.”
The new Tamar class lifeboat will replace Eastbourne’s old Mersey Class all weather lifeboat called the Royal Thames. The new state of the art vessel will serve the waters around Eastbourne for many years to come.
Lifeboat crews and supporters have been fundraising for the new lifeboat and that will continue.
The cost of the £2.7 million lifeboat has been funded by two generous legacies and other local fundraising efforts, but the RNLI still needs to raise more to fully fund the build.
The final part of fitting out the new Tamar took place at Babcock’s boat yard in Plymouth, where she was lifted by crane and placed in the water. The boat will has also undergone a series of detailed tests, trials and crew training.
Diamond Jubilee was recently launched into the water in Plymouth and is now at the RNLI’s head quarters in Poole, preparing for its journey to Eastbourne.
The appropriately named lifeboat is also getting ready for a jaunt down the River Thames as part of the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations. It will be one of more than 1,000 vessels set to take part in a pageant on the Thames this summer and will have royals and dignitaries on board as it sails down the river on June 3.
The Diamond Jubilee will join what is set to be the largest flotilla in modern times to sail down the Thames, with boats of all shapes and sizes taking part in a line-up estimated to stretch to a mammoth 12.5 miles.
A selected few will be on board on the big day, including Eastbourne coxswain Mark Sawyer and mechanic Dan Guy. The lifeboat is not expected to be in service until the end of June, once all training of the crew has been completed.
The final event to mark the arrival of the town’s new lifeboat will take place in July, when the Earl and Countess of Wessex will visit Eastbourne and officially name the new vessel. Details of the visit by Prince Edward and his wife Sophie will be released next month.