The JLA has announced that it is awaiting the delivery of a Gemini Waverider 880 CR, which it says will be the fastest inshore rescue vessel in the Channel Islands.
Coxswain Andy Hibbs said that the £200,000 needed to buy the RIB, which is currently being built in the UK, had been raised entirely through local donors.
‘For us, as a charity, it is incredible to be able to raise this money, particularly with the pandemic. This vessel will be a fantastic asset both for the station and for the crew,’ he said, adding that the boat would enable the JLA to help more people in trouble at sea.
‘It will enable us to do quick inshore work as well as having a larger operational range,’ he added.
The Gemini Waverider 880 CR will have a top speed of 45 knots loaded, and will come equipped with advanced technology such as FLIR – a type of thermal imaging camera. The crew will also be using wireless headsets to enable quick, clear communication.
Currently the group has a single all-weather vessel – the Sir Max Aitken III. It anticipates that the new RIB will be built by April and delivered a short time later.
Andy Andrews, from supplier Berthon RIB Solutions, said that an extensive design process had taken place to ensure the boat was ‘capable of any job required of it’.
‘Gemini boats have a track record of keeping life safe at sea,’ he added.
‘They are the sole supplier of RIBs to the National Sea Rescue Institute in South Africa where the boats operate through extreme conditions, and are used in commercial patrol and rescue roles worldwide.
‘The extensive suite of electronics that will assist the crew in locating and rescuing persons from the water – including a thermal imaging camera – has been confirmed, and an advanced water ballast system will be installed to guarantee the boat’s stability through rough sea states. The boat will also be fitted with shock-mitigation seating, which serves an important dual purpose. As well as keeping the boat comfortable, this advanced seating will mean the crew are capable of completing their rescues upon arrival, having not experienced a debilitating rough ride.’
The JLA, which formed after members split from the RNLI in 2017, is also hoping to raise an additional £25,000 to buy personal equipment for the crew.