THE OFFICIAL opening of Montrose’s new £1 million lifeboat station is a step closer after the town’s lifeboats were moved to the new premises at the weekend.
Contractors handed the building over to the RNLI at the end of last week and both the inshore and Tyne-class lifeboats were moved to the site from the old port-side station on Saturday. From now on, all call-outs will be answered from the Wharf Street building.
The million pound new-build facility will provide the charity rescue service with a greater range of facilities, easier access to the harbour and will be home to a brand new £1.5 million lifeboat, the Shannon class - the first of its kind to be stationed in Scotland.
Work on the new site began in September 2011 with the construction of a steel jetty and pontoon, with the foundations of the building itself being laid last summer, after Fife couple Hugh and Molly Brown left their entire £1 million legacy to the RNLI and a fund-raising drive by the Montrose Lifeboat Guild.
Jim Strachan, lifeboat press officer for RNLI Montrose, said: “We moved in to the station on Saturday and it’s now running as a station, although there will be an official opening day which will be in the near future.
“There were quite a few of the crew involved in the move and it took around two hours to get all the equipment moved in.”
Facilities at the new station include a crew parking area, a souvenir outlet, changing area and a boathouse, removing the need for crew members to have to pass through the busy dock-side to the current station, often when time is of the essence.
The new station will continue to accommodate an inshore lifeboat in addition to the arrival of the new Shannon-class vessel later this year. The Shannon-class was designed by the RNLI’s own naval architects to feature the latest technology and is the first all weather lifeboat to be powered by twin water jets instead of propellers.
Funding for the new vessel came in a bequest from Morayshire solicitor Ruth Grant Smith who died in December, 2005 aged 99. The new lifeboat will be named after her late husband, Ian Grant Smith.