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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 15:27 GMT
Lifeboat first for Tenby station
The new lifeboat arrived in Tenby on Thursday

Tenby has become the first RNLI station in the UK to take delivery of a new generation of computerised lifeboat.

The 2m Tamar class vessel that arrived at the west Wales resort on Thursday is bigger, quicker, and its designers say safer, than any of its predecessors.

An on-board computer system allows a lot of the lifeboat's functions to be managed remotely.

The boat, named the Haydn Miller after a donor, complements the new 5.5m station that opened last year.

The Tamar replaces the 20-year-old Tyne class lifeboat Sir Galahad but that will remain at the resort for a few more weeks.

The Tenby crew, the third busiest in Wales, have been training on and off on a prototype of the Haydn Miller for the last year.

Top speed of 25 knots compared to Tyne's 17
New seat design for better back protection
Computer allows lifeboat functions to be accessed remotely
Screens access at all six crew seats allowing task sharing
16metre long compared to Tyne's 14m length

Tenby was chosen as it was having a new station and the slipway could be designed to accommodate the larger vessel.

Robert James said finally taking delivery of the boat was a proud moment for him and fellow volunteer crew members.

"It's a heck of a boat - it's a lot faster," he said.

"You can bring every system up on the one (computer) screen which makes it a lot safer.

"There is such a difference just sitting in the one position rather than having to get up and move about in the rough seas which can be a bit dangerous.

"We had a week's training down in Poole last week where we put it through its paces.

"There's a lot of excitement - the boys have been waiting for a long time."

He said many people in Tenby, not just the crew, had become attached to the Sir Galahad.

"It becomes part of the town and people even get used to the noise," added Mr James.

"Everyone in the town knows the boat so it's sad, but time moves on."

The Tamar class will gradually be rolled out to other stations in the UK.

The vessel is bigger and quicker than its predecessors

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