Hardy Commodore 42 is the first of two training boats to replace the 44ft Nelsons

The naming ceremony of the first purpose-built RNLI training boat, Ian and Anne Butler, took place today at the RNLI headquarters in Poole, Dorset. This Hardy Commodore 42 is the first of two training boats that will replace the RNLI’s 44ft Nelson-class boats.

The boat has been modified to suit RNLI requirements, resulting in a bespoke training craft. It has a classroom section that will act as a student navigation area, and sleeps up to seven people, allowing lifeboat crew to complete vital training, including RYA examinations, for which they have to spend three to five days at sea.

Ian Canavan, RNLI Operations Training Manager, explained how valuable the boat is to the charity. ‘This boat is a welcome new addition to our training resources. Our old training boats were secondhand and not designed for classroom needs – there weren’t even enough bunks to sleep all the crew. Only 1 in 10 crewmembers joins the RNLI with any professional maritime background, which is why it’s vital to provide volunteers with the best possible training.’

After a thorough assessment of crew training needs and an invite to tender, Hardy Marine was chosen to supply the two boats to the RNLI. The second training vessel will enter the fleet in February 2007.

These boats cost in the region of £450,000 each – all of which comes from donations and legacies. This boat is named after Mrs Butler, who donated a substantial amount towards the cost of the boat, and the late Mr Ian Butler who was a great supporter of the charity. Their daughters Lucy and Anne Butler performed the naming ceremony.