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
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:
'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
Skittles, Sponsored Walks & jumble Sales
Raft Paces, Barn Dances & Bavarian Evenings
Plastic Duck Race, Sponsored Teetotal
On 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'
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
1996 - The RAF crew helped in the recovery of some
of the wreckage.
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.
2007 - In May 2007, Andy Keeling stops off in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight during an exam for his Coastal Skipper
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".
2010 B-718 has now moved on to service with ICE-SAR in Iceland so it is now much more difficult to go an see her but hopefully she will
appear in some form on their website at a later date www.icesar.com
The Lifeboat B-718 is now placed on the east coast of Iceland in Neskaupstadur, a fishing village. She is in good condition and hopefully she will last some
years. The rescue team in Neskaupstadur had photos on their website which now appear to have been removed.
On the 19th January 2020 Andy Keeling went to visit Andy Stakes, an old sailing & skiing friend who in 2019 was featured on
Grand Designs building a new house on the cliff edge at Portpatrick in Scotland. On the 21st they met all the Lifeboat crew in
the Crown Hotel which looks out over the Portpatrick Lifeboat station who invited both aboard the Lifeboat the following
morning for a guided tour. An Arun Class boat worth around £3M.
Andy Stakes then went out on the 24th for his first training session with a view to joining the crew - as Andy has sailed across
the Atlantic, they’ll find out that they’ve found a gem for a new member!
Rotaract I in Blackpool 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'. 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.
Rotaract I Nameplate