The Royal National Lifeboat Institute have maintained an inshore lifeboat station at Brighton Marina for many years now, looking after the inshore traffic from our local marinas and beaches and venturing further to sea when required. The RNLI's inshore lifeboats are Rigid Inflatable Boats, or RIBs for short, with a shape formed from a large inflated tube around the top edge of a rigid fibre-glass hull. At Brighton Marina, the lifeboat is kept safe and dry on a boat cradle in a floating boathouse.
This year, the existing boat, a venerable Atlantic 75 RIB, is to be replaced with a brand spanking new Atlantic 85. The new state-of-the-art vessel is too big for the old floating boathouse, which is in any case just as venerable as the long-serving boat it houses, and the RNLI have commissioned a new boathouse to match the new boat.
The builders of the new boathouse, pontoon manufacturer Intermarine, are part of Henfield-based construction group J T Mackley and have chosen to build the new boathouse in Shoreham Port's Adur Dry Dock. Intermarine's Project Manager, Peter Cross, said "The Dry Dock at Shoreham provides a well-equipped and secure location for our boat-building activities and has the added advantage of avoiding the need to lift the vessel into the water after it is built. That avoids the risks and costs inherent in lifting a 35 Tonne boathouse into the water from dry land".
Shoreham Port Director of Engineering, Tony Parker, added "Another advantage to using the Dry Dock for building the floating boathouse is that, once the Dock has been flooded, Intermarine and the lifeboat crew can commission and test the new boathouse in calm waters close to workshop facilities. Everyone at the Port is thrilled to find that our Dry Dock has proved to be the ideal facility for such prestigious work"
The boathouse began to arrive at the Dry Dock in sections manufactured by fabricators Four Tees about two weeks ago and is expected to be completed ready for commissioning in about another two weeks. Once the crew are happy with the boathouse it will be towed to Brighton Marina by the Port-based marine services vessel 'Valkyrie'.