RNLI ships out to new station

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THE RNLI in Queensferry is celebrating this week after it finally moved into a new state of the art lifeboat station.

Although the building work was finished earlier this year, continuing problems with drainage forced the 
crew to delay in moving from their existing premises to the new headquarters.

But over the past week, the lifeboat volunteers have been busy moving equipment and RNLI merchandise just yards down the pier to their new facility.

And, to top off the move, the lifeboat station also took delivery of its new, more powerful, Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat. 

The new lifeboat station is a huge improvement over the existing one built back in 1989.

Queensferry RNLI operations manager Tom Robertson this week welcomed the move to the new station, saying: “Everyone is delighted with the move.

‘‘Unfortunately, we encountered problems with builders and drainage which kept delaying the entry date but we are now settling in.”

He said: “The new station offers us direct access from the boathouse down the pier and into the water which will save precious minutes in launching the lifeboat.

‘‘The facilities the new building offers are also superb with additional space for training purposes and for visiting groups.’’

As well as these areas, there is a spacious crew lounge, locker space, shower facilities, kitchen and a well- appointed shop.

And being a two-storey building which overlooks the Forth, Tom added: “The view from the upper floor provides direct vision across the Forth from Longannet to Inchcolm Island.”

The new station lifeboat, named the “Jimmie Cairncross”, incorporates the latest technology with a self-righting mechanism and inversion proof engines, which will allow the boat to remain operational even after capsize.

David Smart, helmsman and mechanic at Queensferry, gave the new boat a test outing earlier this week and was “impressed” with its improved sea handling, speed and the state-of-the-art electronics which will greatly assist the crew to locate casualties.

Mr Robertson added: “The crew has been out training on the boat all week as there is much more equipment to take on board.

‘‘We have even had an RNLI assessor up from Poole to assist with the training.

‘‘And the boat was forced into action earlier this weekwhen the crew had to rescue 13 people trapped on Cramond Island and respond to a speedboat in the Forth which 
suffered engine failure.”

He added the existing station is now set to be taken over by the HM Coastguard, currently based at Port Edgar Marina.

Mr Robertson said: “The expected move by the Coastguard to our former premises will be welcomed as we work closely together so it would be ideal to be near neighbours.”

*The RNLI Queensferry inshore lifeboat continues to be one of the busiest in Scotland.

So far this year it has launched over 40 times assisting over 120 people.