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‘Heroic’ strongmen shift Oceanic lifeboat

Members of Shetland's weight training club helped move the restored Oceanic lifeboat - Photos: Shetland Amenity Trust

MEMBERS of Shetland’s weight training club braved the elements on Wednesday night to help move a restored boat, as Shetland Amenity Trust in getting ready for its upcoming boat week festival.

The group helped to shift the 28 foot Oceanic lifeboat from the museum’s boat shed in Lerwick to across the dock for display.

In pouring rain and gusty winds the strongmen took the boat out onto the slip, with Jonathan Doogan from J&B Transport on hand to move it onto a truck before it was relocated next to the pier shed.

The lifeboat, which was used on White Star’s Oceanic liner, came to land in Shetland in 1914 when the ship – which was being used by the Navy at the time – grounded off Foula.

It was later sold locally before an engine was fitted to allow it to be used to ferry cargo and passengers between Lerwick and Bressay in the 1920s and 30s.

In the 1960s and 70s the boat was then used to run sheep between islands in Yell Sound, before it was left abandoned on a beach in Ulsta.

After being taken on by the museum, the boat’s woodwork was restored to its former glory by Robbie Tait and Jack Duncan.

The newly-vacated space in the boat shed will allow Tait and Duncan to build a new clinker built fourareen as part of this year’s Shetland Boat Week.

Event co-ordinator Emma Miller said that the strongmen’s help exemplified how the boat week is about getting everyone involved in Shetland’s maritime heritage.

“Last night’s effort by the boys is a perfect example of community spirit and them giving us a hand. Their effort in this terrible rain was nothing short of heroic,” she said.

“The lifeboat is a big boat, and she’s not been easy to shift. We couldn’t have done it without them, and Jonathan’s truck.”

This year’s Shetland Boat Week is taking place between 7 and 13 August, with 55 different maritime related events on offer.

Check out the week’s programme of events here.

The strongmen in the now empty boat shed.