Llandudno town centre boathouse rethink to fit new lifeboat

Lifeboat being towed in Llandudno (pic: Nigel Millard) The lifeboat has to be towed through the streets of Llandudno to reach the sea

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A town whose lifeboat must be towed through its streets before launch is to rethink the site of its boathouse because a new vessel will be too big.

The RNLI wants to give Llandudno a new vessel, but the current boathouse is too small and, unusually, in the middle of the Conwy town.

Historically it was placed there to be able to reach both the town's beaches.

The RNLI says it is the only lifeboat in the UK which is towed through streets in this way.

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The current time from boathouse to launch is approximately 12-15 minutes for the all-weather lifeboat, but is obviously dependent on a number of factors including traffic”

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A lifeboat station was first established in the town in 1861, and at that time it was at another site near the railway station.

Llandudno is famed for its vast expanse of promenade, with pastel painted hotels looking out over the seafront to the sandy beach on the North Shore.

But there is also another smaller, pebbly beach, West Shore, and the idea of a move in 1903 to the present location in Lloyd Street was so that a boat could be launched equally quickly to anyone in distress off either beach.

Traffic levels in 1903 were considerably different to the present day, however, and the lifeboat has to be towed some 700m (0.4 of a mile) through busy streets before it even sees the sea.

"The current time from boathouse to launch is approximately 12-15 minutes for the all-weather lifeboat, but is obviously dependent on a number of factors, including traffic," said an RNLI spokeswoman.

Busy streets

"The inshore lifeboat of course launches in much faster time."

The RNLI confirmed that its trustees have agreed the allocation of a new lifeboat.

The current Mersey class lifeboat (Pic: Dave James) The new boat is larger and faster than the current Mersey class

Previously the charity had said there was no way to expand the current building.

"The RNLI will now revisit the boathouse designs and will be speaking with planners to determine the most suitable location to house the Shannon, which is larger than the current Mersey class lifeboat," the spokeswoman added.

However, there is unlikely to be a quick solution as there have been various failed attempts to get planning permission for a new boathouse over the years.

In the past some hoteliers have objected to having a boathouse on the front, whilst people living near the site in Lloyd Street say they will be glad when the RNLI moves as they say their homes "shake" with each launch.

The new Shannon class boat should be ready towards the second half of 2015.

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