The new Lytham St Annes lifeboat is on target to arrive early in the new year.
Completion of the state-of-the-art Shannon craft’s construction at the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat centre in Dorset has been followed by six weeks of sea trials and checks.
Members of the Lytham St Annes crew will be heading to Poole for training before the craft heads north in February.
Further crew training will follow locally before the Shannon, to be named Barbara Anne, takes over duties from the current Mersey class vessel Her Majesty the Queen.
Lytham St Annes RNLI spokesman David Forshaw said: “It is an exciting time – we are all looking forward to the new craft arriving.
“It will be faster, so with the potential to save more lives, larger, and far safer for her crew, the shore crew who are necessary to launch and recover her, and survivors being brought back from the sea.
“Activity at the Station will start in early January with the arrival of a new Shannon launch and recovery system, the name given to the combined tractor and carriage which is needed to launch the new lifeboat.
“The early arrival is to allow the tractor drivers to be trained for this completely new method of launching and will also involve the arrival of a Shannon class relief fleet lifeboat for a few days to complete this training.
“Her Majesty the Queen will probably join the RNLI’s relief lifeboat fleet as a temporary replacement for boats needing repairs or overhaul before finally being sold by the RNLI.”
The bulk of the £2.2m cost of the new craft is being covered by a bequest from an RNLI supporter based in Hampshire.
A local appeal to raise £275,000 is well on the way to its target.