Clacton: New lifeboat named in honour of former station chairman

A BRAND new �180,000 lifeboat has been named in memory of an Essex town’s former RNLI station chairman.

A fundraising campaign for the Clacton RNLI boat was started more than five years ago but thanks to the generosity of the town’s residents, the money was raised more quickly than anticipated.

The service’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat has been named the David Porter MPS in honour of Clacton’s former RNLI station chairman and in recognition of his qualification as a pharmacist.

Richard Walker, chairman of Clacton RNLI, said: “The station is delighted to have taken delivery of its new lifeboat, which was funded from public subscription, and is named after the former chairman of Clacton lifeboat’s management group who passed away last December.

“It is a fitting tribute to a man who gave his services to the RNLI, as a volunteer, for 46 years.”

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Mr Porter, 80, of First Avenue in Clacton, died following a long illness.

He was the first launching authority for the inshore lifeboat when it first came to Clacton in 1966, to compliment the offshore boat that operated from the pier.

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The new vessel will replace the station’s Atlantic 75 which is now 14 years old.

It is 28ft in length, can carry up to four crew and has a maximum speed of 35 knots, compared to the Atlantic 75 which had a crew of three and a top speed of 32 knots.

Dave Wells, Clacton RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “We are really pleased with the new boat.

“It has direction funding equipment which we can use when someone calls up on a radio to pick up on their frequency and go straight to the casualty.

“It also has radar which will help navigation when visibility is poor.

“This new equipment greatly enhances the boat’s life-saving capabilities.”

The David Porter MPS was called into action for the first time on Sunday.

It was launched to the aid of a husband and wife on board a 34ft yacht which had got into difficulty six miles off the Clacton coast at around 3.30pm.

At first it was thought the yacht had grounded on a sandbank, but as the lifeboat made its way towards the vessel, it emerged a rope had got caught around the yacht’s rudder and propeller, causing it to stop near the Swallow Tail buoy just south of Clacton.

The lifeboat stood by while the sailors removed the obstruction and checked there was no damage to the yacht. It then continued its journey to Bradwell Marina.

An RNLI spokesman said: “This was the first shout out for the station’s new boat.

“The crew had an opportunity to use the new equipment during a rescue, including the new direction finding equipment which allows crews to pinpoint the casualty using their radio transmission.”

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