Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Calling all ex-Swanage Lifeboat Crew

At around 10am on Sunday 2nd November Swanage Lifeboat Crew will be having their final crew photo taken at the current boathouse. Then at around 11am we'd really like to take a photo of all the people who have volunteered at Swanage over the years. We're also going to put on a few refreshments too. If you know someone who served with us then please pass this message on. It would be great for example if we could recreate this photo from 1992 when our Mersey came to station.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Last chance to visit our current lifeboat station

This week is the last chance that the public will have to visit our current lifeboat station. The station will close to the public for the last time on Sat 1st November 2014. This is to allow time for the building to be emptied prior to the contractors taking over the site mid-December.
Our wonderful team of volunteer boathouse attendants will have the station open all week from 12 - 4pm so why not pop in and say hi. You can also have a look at a copy of the plans for the new building.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

South West Trains present a cheque for £1,000 to Swanage RNLI

On Saturday, 11th October a South West train made the trip from London Waterloo to Swanage full of passengers eager to travel along this picturesque section of track which, thanks to a recent agreement between Network Rail, Dorset County Council and Swanage Railway, will become a regular route in the future.

South West trains decided to donate funds towards the Swanage Lifeboat Station Appeal because of the support already given to them by the Swanage Railway at their Diesel Weekend last May. They chose the arrival of one of their trains in Swanage as the opportunity to present members from Swanage RNLI with a cheque for £1,000.

Swanage Lifeboat Fundraisers Chairperson, Angela Morris, said "South West trains have been keen to support our local project in particular as the train line from Swanage to Wareham is soon to become a reality."
Cheque presented to Neil Brooks, Gavin Steeden and Angela Morris by Phil Dominey, Stakeholder Manager South Western Railway.

Photo: Chris Caruana

Friday, 10 October 2014

Work to begin on construction of the new Swanage RNLI lifeboat station

November will mark the start of one of the RNLI’s biggest construction projects when work begins on the new Swanage lifeboat station. Over an 18-month period, the existing boathouse at Peveril Point will be demolished and a new facility will then be erected in its place. This will house one of the charity’s new state of the art Shannon class all weather lifeboats and serve the station for at least the next 80 years.
Designed by Dorset based team, consulting engineers Smith Foster and architects Morgan Design Studio Ltd, the new building will stand in exactly the same place as the old station that was constructed in 1875. As well as housing the Shannon class lifeboat, it will co-house the station’s D Class inshore lifeboat and provide modern facilities for crew training, office space, a warm changing room with toilets and showers and a workshop for the mechanic.

Christopher Refoy, RNLI Estates Construction Manager, says the project will be an exciting challenge for everyone involved:
‘This project has taken some considerable time to come to fruition. Building construction in the maritime environment is always interesting, and at times extremely challenging for both the designers and our Contractors. This project has its own particular characteristics, not least of which is the immensely constrained site. This is a huge challenge for both our Contractor, BAM Nuttall, and for our volunteer crew who will maintain the lifeboat service at Swanage without interruption throughout the duration of the works.’

The new boathouse will represent a £3.5 million investment, which will be met by the many generous donations made to the charity by the public, including some that have been left in legacies specifically for building projects. Over £200,000 of which has been raised by local RNLI fundraisers through the community, money which has been raised through local events, personal challenges, and overwhelming support from other RNLI fundraising branches.

Christopher continues:
‘Before building work can begin, the site for the temporary crew accommodation and contractors compound needs to be prepared. In November, work will begin in Swanage Boat Park to install the accommodation units that the lifeboat crew will use as temporary facilities, along with the Contractors accommodation and a unit to temporarily house Swanage Angling club. It is currently planned that the lifeboat station will become operational from its temporary accommodation in December, and demolition of the current lifeboat station will start in January.’

Throughout the duration of the build, both of Swanage’s lifeboats will remain fully operational. Neil Hardy, Swanage RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, says:
‘There’s no pretending that the next 18 months are going to be easy. The demands on the Coxswain and volunteer crew are going to be enormous and I thank them in advance for their patience and goodwill. But we will come out of the project with a superb new lifeboat station that will be a delight to the RNLI team here and a vital investment for the future of the RNLI in Swanage.

We’re spending this month clearing out the current station of non-operational items and putting them into storage. Our temporary buildings arrive at the beginning of November and we’ll then spend time moving into these and transferring over our operational equipment ready for the start of the build.’

Because of the need for space for the temporary facilities, Swanage Boat Park will be closed from the end of October 2014 to Spring 2016 when the build is completed. The public slipway will remain open subject to the on-going construction work. Where possible these periods of closure will be posted in advance on a dedicated website Via the website, boat users can also opt to be kept up to date by email or by following @swanageboatpark on twitter.