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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 08:18 GMT
New 5.5m home for Tenby lifeboat
Tenby lifeboat station
The new lifeboat station cost 5.5m
A new class of lifeboat is being put through its paces at Tenby after work on the resort's 5.5m lifeboat station was completed at the weekend.

The building was specially designed to house the new computerised Tamar boat, which has a top speed of 25 knots.

Tenby will become the first place in the UK to permanently take one of the 2m boats.

The Pembrokeshire station is one of the busiest in Wales, with 63 launches rescuing 35 people in the past year.

Once in a crewman's lifespan you may get to see a new boat but to get a new boat and station is a privilege
Bob James, Tenby Lifeboat

The old station is now 100 years old and when the RNLI looked at replacing the existing Tyne class lifeboat with one of the new Tamars it realised a new station would be needed.

Training coordinator for Tenby lifeboat, Bob James, said: "The old lifeboat station was built for a 36ft rowing and sailing boat and has been extended twice to take different types of boats as they progressed.

"In the past the RNLI has designed lifeboats to fit into different stations and it's always the aim to provide new all weather lifeboats every 20 years or so.

"They would either have had to extend or rebuild and they've gone for the building of a new station."

It also provides the 32-strong crew with much needed facilities such as toilets and a meeting area.

Tamar (Picture: Tenby Lifeboat Website)
The Tamar lifeboat that is in Tenby

An area has been set aside for selling merchandise and viewing platforms will enable tourists to watch the boat being launched.

Mr James said constructing the building on the side of a cliff face had thrown up a number of challenges.

"You cannot bring lorries down through the streets, the heaviest vehicles that come into town are the dray lorries delivering beer to the pubs," he explained.

Most material was brought two miles by sea.

The Tamar lifeboat undergoing sea trials at the station this week is a pre-production model, with Tenby's 2m permanent boat likely to be delivered in September.

It will be named the Haydn Miller in honour of the donor who left a large bequest that paid for it.

Mr James said it would be capable of faster rescue times and on board computer controls meant it would safer and more easily manageable for the crew.

"Once in a crewman's lifespan you may get to see a new boat but to get a new boat and station is a privilege," added Mr James.

"Everybody is really over the moon and excited."

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