ENGINEERS from the RNLI have just completed a badly needed £40,000 upgrade to the Lerwick lifeboat’s navigational instruments.
Described as long overdue by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the new radar and navigation system, VHF radios and direction finding unit will work as part of an integrated system that allows crew members to view multiple activities on one screen for the first time.
The Michael and Jane Vernon is the first of the RNLI’s 44 Severn class lifeboats to be fitted out with the new ‘home grown’ computer system. The lifeboat based at Aith will be upgraded in due course.
RNLI chief engineer Wayne Shilson has just overseen the first sea trials and said he was happy with the performance of the new equipment.
He added: “There was a lot of antiquated and in essence unreliable equipment on this class of lifeboat.
“Lerwick was chosen because it is the farthest lifeboat station away and the coxswain had previous experience of an integrated system.
“We have taken the old gear off which was about 20 years old, and have put much more modern equipment on, giving it longevity.”
The relief boat Margaret Joan and Fred Nye stood in while four engineers worked on the refit last week.
Shilson added that in order to extend the operational life of the Severn class lifeboats the RNLI was looking into further upgrades of its fleet which would involve a redesign of the wheel house layout.
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