Gorleston RNLI lifeboat returns after refit

THE familiar orange and blue livery of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat the Samarbeta has been a welcome sight to sailors in distress for the last 15 years.

Now the �1.2m lifeboat has been on the receiving end of a helping hand thanks to a �300,000 refurbishment, which should enable the vessel to reach stricken sailors more quickly.

Since March, the boat, launched by Princess Alexandra in 1996, has been sitting in Carrolls boatyard in Ballyhack, Ireland while being fitted with five new bladed propellers to enable the Trent class vessel to travel as its normal speed of 25 knots.

And on Tuesday the boat returned to its Riverside Road base following the refit, which included stripping down the 850 horsepower MAN engine to get the maximum speed.

Neil Duffield, secretary of Gorleston RNLI, said: 'Obviously we will be able to get out to the casulaties in good time. The boat has the potential for 25 knots in good weather and we are obviously that much more efficient in getting where we want to get to.'

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He added at the time of the boat's launch the Samarbeta was at the cutting edge of lifeboat technology, but surveys are carried out every two or three years to check if the vessel needs improvements and the latest survey revealed the engines needed updating.

Mr Duffield said the boat had had problems with vibrations from the existing propellers caused by wear and tear over the years.

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During the course of a year, the lifeboat, which can carry between five and eight crew, attends up to 15 incidents over a 100 mile radius and can travel as far as Holland if necessary.

But the Gorleston lifeboat station does not just operate the Samarbeta- it also has the in-shore lifeboat Atlantic 75 which takes a three man crew on up to 50 calls annually around the Broads and Breydon.

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