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Emergency services / Work starts on new Aith lifeboat pontoon

The ‘floating dock’ should save time when the lifeboat crew is called out

Photo: Daniel Lawson/RNLI

PREPARATORY works started earlier this month for the installation a new 24-metre-long pontoon which will be fitted to the inside arm of the existing lifeboat pier in Aith.

It represents a substantial investment from the RNLI in its Aith station, which operates a Severn class lifeboat – the Charles Lidbury.

Aith lifeboat coxswain John Robertson said: “The new pontoon will act as a floating dock for our lifeboat, moving with the tides to make access to the vessel easier at any time of day or in any weather.

“It will also save precious time during emergency call outs, when every second can count, by allowing our crew to head straight out to sea with less manoeuvring at pier side.”

“This is a laang lippened and very welcome improvement for the Aith station, which already has an impressive average response time – between pagers alerting crew and the lifeboat leaving the pier.”

The work is being carried out by the Shetland based engineering and fabrication contractor Malakoff, with the pontoon being built in Lerwick and then floated and towed around to Aith later this summer.

Meanwhile the company’s 16.2m work barge, MV Brenda, is now onsite in Aith to make the pier ready for the pontoon’s arrival.

The new berthing pontoon is expected to be in use by October, and the Aith lifeboat remains able to continue providing search and rescue operations in the meantime.