RNLI team say farewell to lifeboat as new vessel is brought in to help keep people safe on the Tyneside coast
An RNLI team has bid a sad goodbye to the lifeboat which helped go to the rescue of more than 1,000 people during more than two decades of service.
Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat has said farewell to Lifeboat 17-20, Spirit of Northumberland left her mooring for the final time and headed down the Tyne.
Spirit of Northumberland joined Tynemouth in 1998 and launched 490 times, going to the aid of more than 1,000 people.
She has been replaced by 17-34 Osier before the station receives a new Severn lifeboat, which that will have been through the charity’s Seven life extension programme, which will also see the Spirit of Northumberland given a revamp.
The charity is ensuring its boats are upgraded and fit for use, with the Severn’s wheelhouse redesigned and other changes made so the vessels can operate safely and effectively for another 25 years and keeping the RNLI’s volunteer crews as safe as possible while out saving lives at sea in all weathers.
A spokesperson for the volunteers said: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Lifeboat 17-20, Spirit of Northumberland has slipped her mooring for the last time and been taken out of service at Tynemouth.
"She will be replaced by 17-34, Osier for up to around two years. In two years time we will receive a new, modernised Severn Class lifeboat as part of the RNLI’s Seven Life Extension Programme (SLEP), where we will receive a different boat, re-numbered and re-named.
“Spirit of Northumberland joined Tynemouth in 1998 after fundraising through the Tynemouth Lifeboat appeal and has spent 22 years on service at Tynemouth.
"During this time she has launched 490 times coming to the aid of over 1,000 people.
“While at Tynemouth, 17-20 holds two service records for the RNLI.
"She has rescued the most number of people in the north in one job, totalling 118.
"This came from a river cruise up the Tyne in 2010.
"She also holds the record for the longest distance job in the RNLI at 220 nautical miles round trip for a danish fishing boat in the North Sea.
“She will be taken to the RNLI Headquarters in Poole where she will then be lifted out and passed to the All Weather Lifeboat Centre to refit her as part of the SLEP programme.”