The RNLI plan is to replace the existing Mersey Class All-weather Lifeboat with an Atlantic 85 Inshore Boat. The natural successor to the Mersey is the Shannon.
- The Atlantic 85, an excellent boat for inshore use, is restricted to a zone of 10 nautical miles from its station. It is unsuitable for towing vessels over 10 metres in length, and cannot attend incidents involving fire.
- The Shannon can stay at sea for 10 hours; the Atlantic 85 for just 3 hours.
- The Shannon accommodates up to 79 survivors with all-weather protection. The Atlantic 85 can accommodate 20 survivors but with no protection from the elements.
- The Shannon can operate in all weather conditions. The Atlantic 85 is restricted. It cannot be launched in conditions worse than force6/7 by day and force 5/6 at night.
The RNLI has consistently issued statements extolling the virtues of the Atlantic 85, referring to it as
‘the fastest boat in the RNLI fleet’
but never acknowledging its launch restrictions. Without an All-weather Lifeboat along the whole of the coastline of Ceredigion, there will be: NO LIFEBOAT IN A STORM!
Between 2007 and 2016, 25% of New Quay’s All-weather Lifeboat services would not have been possible with an Atlantic 85.