December 1st, 2023.

Volunteers of Newhaven Lifeboat travelled to Cornwall to train with RNLI Newquay. Alongside Newquay’s experienced inshore helms, testing conditions provided an exciting ride for the visitors and an opportunity for Newhaven crew to explore capabilities of the charity’s D class.

The volunteer crew from RNLI Newhaven have been progressing through an intensive D class training programme since June 2022. This additional training weekend in November, offered an opportunity to enhance and consolidate existing work.

A two year trial of the D class ILB in Newhaven is scheduled to begin responding to operational taskings by HM Coastguard in early 2024. The ILB will operate alongside RNLI Newhaven’s existing all-weather lifeboat (ALB).

The RNLI’s D class ILB has been the workhorse of the charity for over 50 years. First introduced into the fleet in 1963, the design of this inflatable lifeboat continues to evolve to meet changes in demand and technology.

Andrew Trebilcock, RNLI Newquay helm, explains: "We launched in more than six feet of surf. Our Newhaven friends were able to feel the effectiveness of the D class in action. How it manages in punishing conditions and is essential to our live saving work, operating around rocks, shallow water and accessing confined locations."

The D class is highly manoeuvrable and usually operates closer to shore than the Severn class ALB, largest in the RNLI fleet, that has operated out of Newhaven since 1999 with a host of her own benefits.

Andy Bull, RNLI Newhaven crew and mechanic, added: "We couldn't have asked for more from our colleagues in Newquay. Everyone who assisted in our training made us so welcome, from lifeboat and shore crew to lifeguards and we can't thank them enough.

"We've come away from our visit with a clearer understanding of the impressive abilities of the D class. Moreover, the experienced Newquay helms, or ‘harbour rats’, as they’re known locally, generously shared their knowledge, giving us the confidence to take this asset and save more lives at sea along our own coastline."

The RNLI’s livesaving work is powered by donations. Making a donation to the charity enables training of lifeboat crews and provides them with lifesaving equipment. RNLI life saving skills are passed through generations and around our coast to help save more lives at sea.

To make a donation to the RNLI’s winter appeal visit:

Pictured: Newhaven Lifeboat crew front left to right: Andy Bull, Katherine Nasher, Claire Townsend, Dan Wittenberg. Newquay Lifeboat crew back left to right: Kev Goulding, Kate Palmer, Andrew Trebilcock, Phil MorrisRNLI/Ann-Marie Dale
Volunteer crew of RNLI Newhaven & Newquay. Image credit: RNLI/Ann-Marie Dale.
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