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Rotaract I Name Plate
The Name

I Name This Lifeboat 'Rotaract I' - May God Bless Her and All who Sail in Her.
The Naming

ROTARACT BUYS LIFEBOAT

The Rotaract Clubs of Great Britain & Ireland on the occasion of celebrating 25 years of Rotaracting, purchased an 'Atlantic 75 rigid Inflatable Lifeboat. This lifeboat was handed over to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at 2.00 p.m. on:

SATURDAY 18TH NOVEMBER 1995

R.N.L.I. HQ in Poole, DORSET

The ceremony commenced with an address by Anthony Oliver, Deputy head of fundraising for the R.N.L.I. followed by the official handover, made by Andy Steggall - Past District Chairman of District 1210. The local Clergy then blessed the boat and finally

Andy Keeling - Rotaboat Co-ordinator, officially named the boat:

Rotaract I

'ROTABOAT' was a project conceived by Andy Keeling, Andy Steggall, Steve Powell and Tim Careless of Rotaract District 1210.

There are 29 Districts in Great Britain & Ireland and the top three Districts who raised the most money for the project were districts with NO Coastline

District 1210 covers parts of Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands. The money was raised In a variety of ways which included:

  • National Fancy Dress Pub Crawls

  • National Treasure Maps

  • Lifeboat Mosaic in Milton Keynes Shopping Centre

  • Lifeboat pull around Cleethorpes

  • Camping Rally

  • Skittles, Sponsored Walks & jumble Sales

  • Raft Paces, Barn Dances & Bavarian Evenings

  • Plastic Duck Race, Sponsored Teetotal

 

Rotaract I at Sea
Rotaract I

Rotaract I in Blackpool
Rotaract I at Blackpool being brought in by it's tractor.

Rotaract I Launch
View of Rotaract I from the tractor

Rotaract I in Blackpool
Rotaract I in front of Blackpool Tower.

 

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Rotaract I 'Flying'

 

Poole Harbour

"A Perfect end to a Perfect Day"

 

Rotary International BadgeRotary AwardOn the 11th June 1994, District 1210 received a 'Significant Achievement Award' from Rotary International for the effort put into raising the funds for 'Rotaract I'

Latest News

2007 - In May 2007, Andy Keeling stops off in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight during an exam for his Coastal Skipper sailing qualification. Having never seen the Rotaract plaque (Most of the pubs are in West Cowes) which is located in the RNLI's maintenance depot, he pops in to take a photo of the Plaque (and for a pint in the lifeboat pub - Rotaract traditions never die !). The RNLI extend the usual fabulous welcome and offer a guided tour around the depot. They then find out that only that morning B-718 has travelled down from Scotland for it's annual service. "I have to say that they have kept the boat in stunning condition and she should still be going for many years to come".  
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Rotaract I Plaque Rotaract I Andy Keeling with Rotaract I Rotaract I

1996 - 'Rotaract I' had a very exciting start to her life at sea. Her first call was on 25th September 1996 when an incident occurred that made National news. A Royal Air Force Tornado lost control and was heading for the 'Pleasure Beach'. An extremely busy fun park on the sea front at Blackpool, Lancashire, England. The Pilot, realising the huge loss of life at stake, managed at very low altitude to turn the aircraft immediately and ditch into the sea only 100 metres from the Park. He managed to eject seconds before impact and survived uninjured. 'Rotaract I' was immediately dispatched to help but the pilot managed to swim to shore by the time the Lifeboat reached the scene. The crew then helped in the recovery of some of the wreckage.

1995 - 'Rotaract I' Entered service with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution as a relief boat. This means she will travel around the UK temporarily replacing lifeboats which require replacement or refitting.

There is unlikely to be another lifeboat that can boast the value of the vessel involved in a rescue as over twenty five million pounds sterling !

Since then life has been much quieter. She spent two years at Blackpool firstly undergoing trials and also whilst trials were undertaken on B - 705 using new ballast tanks. She has now had over 100 crew man hours at sea. 22 persons have been brought in and unfortunately 1 body. 17 times she has had the assistance of a helicopter and has been out in darkness 14 times.

She moved down to Minehead in North Devon where a rescue involved bringing in a large power boat with machinery failure which resulted in 4 people brought in and 20,000 pounds worth of property saved.

She has been launched over 60 times with 15 crew assemblies without launch and total property saved is now in excess of 50,000

Persons and vessels which 'Rotaract I' has saved include: Large cabin power boats, Small open power boats, Rowing boats, Canoe's, Sailing Dinghy's, Divers, Animals, Fishing Vessel's, Aircraft, people cut off by tides and people falling / washed from jetty's and harbour walls.

'Rotaract I' (B - 718) History

18th November 1995

Launched - Poole, Dorset
01/12/95 - 04/03/96 Inshore Lifeboat Centre - Cowes, Isle of Wight. Initial Movement
04/03/96 - 20/02/98 Blackpool - Lancashire. Station evaluation trials and then full service.
20/02/98 - 27/08/98 Inshore Lifeboat Centre - Cowes, Isle of Wight
27/08/98 - 24/03/99 Minehead - Somerset. Replacement to cover B - 708 whilst away for refit.
24/03/99 - 05/07/99 Trearddur Bay- Holy Island, Anglesey. Replacement to cover B - 731 whilst away for ballast tank modifications.
05/07/99 - onwards Inshore Lifeboat Centre - Cowes, Isle of Wight

Last Edited: 06 August 2011