Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station
Construction Works during 2009


28 January 2009                                                  South 006 2009

Work is to begin next Monday (2 February) at Sennen Cove to replace the two RNLI lifeboat slipways. The work needs to be done in readiness for the station's new Tamar class all-weather lifeboat. It's hoped the project will be completed by the autumn.

The work is the culmination of a ten-year plan for the RNLI at Sennen Cove. It began when a channel was dug out to allow the current Tyne class all-weather lifeboat to launch at any state of the tide from the boathouse, which was modified in 2000 with a view to the future and any potential new all-weather lifeboat design that would need more space.

As John Chappell, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager at Sennen Cove, explains the new lifeboat designated for Sennen Cove, known as the Tamar class all-weather lifeboat, is now being built and that's prompted the final phase to replace the slipways:

'The Tamar's weight and hull shape mean we need to redesign the slipways so she can launch and recover with ease. A special cradle will also be fitted on which the lifeboat will rest when she's inside the boathouse. This cradle tilts to allow the lifeboat to be launched and recovered at an angle, but it then rests horizontally when out of use for ease of maintenance.

'It will be a challenging project given the nature of the site, which is fairly exposed, and the constraints of the tides and weather. But we hope any disruption will be kept to a minimum and that people will acknowledge the future benefits of our new Tamar class lifeboat to mariners in the area.'

Until work is completed the Tyne class all-weather lifeboat Norman Salvesen will operate from a mooring in the bay, but will be moved to Newlyn in poor weather. This will be especially relevant when rough conditions are forecast as the main concern will be the safe boarding of the volunteer crew from an inflatable boat. The flank stations of Penlee, St Mary's and St Ives will continue to provide emergency cover when the Sennen Cove lifeboat is in Newlyn.

The station's D class lifeboat Spirit of the A.C.C. will remain on duty in Sennen Cove and will be housed in its new boathouse sited in the RNLI car park across the road from the main building.

The Sennen Cove lifeboat station was established in 1853 and covers the famous and treacherous coastline around the Land's End peninsula. This area includes a busy Traffic Separation Zone (TSS) that is used by 50 ships a day. During its 156-year history, the RNLI volunteers at Sennen Cove have launched to 699 emergencies, saving 397 lives. Last year the two lifeboats launched 33 times, spending 107 hours at sea rescuing 65 people. 

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