When you take a boat trip with us on Loch Ness, you can rest assured we have the highest standards of safety. For example, the Jacobite Rebel has Zodiac life-rafts each capable of holding 100 people and a 65-person RFD life-raft. Plus we have ample lifejackets for everyone on board and each member of staff is fully trained in safety procedures.
Now, for even greater peace of mind, there is a new lifeboat station and lifeboat on Loch Ness.
Lifeboat Operations Manager Joanna Stebbings said: “We’re so pleased to be moving into our new station. The old boathouse has served us well for nearly 10 years but it’s little more than an extended garage.
“It will be a huge step forward to have proper changing facilities, a space for training and somewhere we can get the kettle on and warm up after being out on the lifeboat.
“As well as keeping the crew warm, it will be far better for the new lifeboat to be kept out of the weather and inside the station. The old boat has had it tough over the years and being left out in the elements has taken its toll.”
Larger and faster
The new craft is an advanced Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat. It is a larger and faster than the boat that’s being replaced. Some of its features are:
- 35 knots speed.
- VHF direction finding equipment.
RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, Stuart Gudgeon said: “The crew at Loch Ness Lifeboat Station are dedicated to what they do. Like all RNLI volunteer crew, they have day jobs. But, when they turn up at the station, they operate the boat like full-time professional mariners.
“Thanks to the generosity of the donors and the public, we’re delighted to be able to provide them with both a new lifeboat and lifeboat station so they may safely carry out their duties for the foreseeable future.”
The new project cost £2.7 million and was largely funded by a bequest from Mrs Agnes Barr. The Barr family have a history of supporting the RNLI in Scotland and Mrs Barr’s brother was a keen sailor.
The new B class Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, “Sheila & Dennis Tongue IV” was built in-house by the RNLI and cost £214,000. The lifeboat was paid for by Dennis Tongue who left provisions in his will to purchase four Atlantic class lifeboats, the Loch Ness lifeboat being the last of the four. Dennis Tongue passed away in 2014 and lived in Exeter, Devon.
The new Loch Ness Lifeboat “Sheila & Dennis Tongue IV” alongside the one it’s replacing. Pictures: RNLI / Henry Weaver.