“I think the best evidence of the contribution of Berthon to the RNLI is that we’ve had a relationship for 30 years, and during that time Berthon has built 36 lifeboats: Arun, Severn and Shannon.
Berthon has displayed amazing qualities during the build and I think this is down to the teamwork within the organisation. Every single person in Berthon gets involved and discharges their responsibility to ensure that we receive a world class product. It’s proof because the crews are very proud of the boats that they get and, so far, in the last 30 years.
Berthon lifeboats have saved 584 lives. They’ve also brought ashore something like 20 times that number; so Berthon boats have saved the equivalent of the population of Lymington.
The Shannon has proven to be probably the most acceptable boat to the crews, even before they’ve received it. We took the prototype round almost every station that was possibly going to receive the boat and any views that they had that it might not be the boat for them were completely overcome. It is so versatile, it also gets to the casualty in probably half the time that today it would take a Mersey to get there, and that was one of the principle reasons that we designed the boat; to get to the casualty sooner and to save more lives.
The crews think it’s wonderful. In fact, they’re so excited that they’re always pestering us to know if they’re going to get one and when it’s going to be. Berthon has proven to be one of the best organisations with which we’ve worked; to be able to deliver such a complex product as the Shannon Lifeboat, and I think I go to sea in my little boat feeling that the Shannon will be out there, if I need it, heaven forbid, but the crews will be there to ensure that I am safe”