Built by Weymouth-based Sawtell Construction Ltd, the new floating boathouse was lifted into the channel, between the bridges from the old power station site where, during the past six months or so, it has been under construction.
Anyone commuting over the Twin Sails bridge, or passing by on a vessel along the channel, will have seen the building in two halves emerge over the winter.
The boathouse was craned into the water and after a test was floated down between the quays, guided by Jenkins Marine, through the 1.30 bridge. It has now being slotted into position on the piles by the bridge, and it is envisaged that work will continue on the building for another few weeks before the lifeboats are moved in to their new home.
Designed by ECA Architecture and Planning, the boathouse is nestled in the conservation area next to the old lifting bridge, where it will be part of a busy quay scene for many years to come. The architects were keen not to make the boathouse resemble the standard industrial sheds and the angled roof is designed to provide views into the building, so when people walk over the bridge they will be enticed to catch a glimpse of the interior. Built as two bays, the RNLI crews are looking forward to being able to launch and recover safely and efficiently.
The boats will be kept just out of the water on a cradle, ready to launch 24/7. The boathouse will offer protection from the elements, giving the lifeboats a bit of TLC, protecting the equipment and hopefully cutting down on maintenance like ‘bottom scrubs’ and it will help to extend the boats’ lifesaving capability.
When bringing casualties back to the station, the crew will be able to do so discreetly. The transfers will be sheltered and more comfortable for the casualties.
It will also be a safer work environment for the mechanics carrying out the essential routine maintenance checks. There will also be more room to securely store equipment and spares, which will be easier to access.
Poole lifeboat volunteer helmsman Jonathan Clark said, “Both operational lifeboats have been on a floating pontoon alongside the quay for the past 18 months and at times this has been a challenge.
“To see them in their new abode will be a new chapter in the station’s history, and the new lifeboat house will vastly improve the efficiency of our search and rescue service here at Poole lifeboat station.
“In time there will be an opportunity to welcome visitors to the station and to view the boathouse to give an insight, and share the lifesaving work that we do.”
Poole Lifeboat Station’s volunteer lifeboat operations manager Paul Glatzel added, “In addition to the arrival of the new boathouse, those visiting the area of the station will also shortly see new materials highlighting the work of our volunteers, giving more information about the boats we use and highlighting some key safety messages relevant to the local area – come and visit.”
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