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Hunstanton Royal National Lifeboat Institution helping to save lives for 60 years celebrates anniversary

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its inshore lifeboat fleet.

It has helped to save more than 30,000 lives since it was first introduced in 1963.

Hunstanton’s volunteer RNLI crew are among more than 200 around the UK which operate one of the latest generation of fast rigid inflatable boats.

A recent launch by the RNLI in Hunstanton
A recent launch by the RNLI in Hunstanton

The station has had several different types of rescue craft during its history.

It saw the RNLI’s first motor tractor and today it operates an inshore B class Atlantic 85 lifeboat and one of only four inshore rescue hovercraft.

The Atlantic 85 Spirit of West Norfolk has been saving lives at sea since May 2011, when it arrived at the station to replace its predecessor Spirit of America, which had entered service in 1982.

Since the station on Sea Lane reopened in 1979, its inshore lifeboats have launched 977 times.

As a result it has saved 139 lives and given assistance to a further 639 people.

The launches were made to locate and look after those who found themselves in difficulty or in danger off the West Norfolk coast.

Rigil Kent, volunteer lifeboat operations manager at Hunstanton, said: “Spirit of West Norfolk has enabled our volunteer crew to reach areas close to shore, cliffs and rocks to rescue people in trouble.

“These fast and highly manoeuvrable lifesaving craft answered the need for a quicker and more agile response to rescues in areas of water that were more challenging to the larger and slower all-weather lifeboats.

He said: “Spirit of West Norfolk has aided many people in difficult situations.

“Whether that is people being cut off by the tide, boats in trouble or water users in need of our help.”

The crew members say that the Atlantic 85 is a capable lifeboat to work with and that it contains the equipment and has the power they need to conduct a search or rescue.

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