The B class inshore lifeboat is one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet. There are two Atlantic 85 lifeboats in Jersey.
St Catherine's has had a lifeboat since 1969 although the station has not always been in the same location.
The current lifeboat station has been operational at its current location beside the Martello Tower in St Catherine's Bay since October 1990. It was originally designed to house the Atlantic 21 "Jessie Eliza" but also accommodated the Atlantic 75 "Eric Rowse" from March 2001 and now houses the Atlantic 85 "Eric W Wilson" (formally named in May 2011) which arrived on station in June 2010.
The station comprises 5 main areas:
the Boathouse, where the tractor and lifeboat, on its trailer, are kept ready for a launch. There is an electronic board above the lifeboat which has the details of the casualty so that the crew can quickly see what sort of recue will be involved. In addition, there is a shelf on the wall which can be accessed from the lifeboat on which the handheld VHF radio is kept charging and additional flares are stores in the event of a night-time search. All other equipment is stored on board.
the Operations Room, from which the station crew can monitor VHF transmissions, plot positions on charts and maintain any necessary logs.
the Crew Room, which is where the station crew can make teas and coffees and relax while waiting for the lifeboat to return.
Changing facilities which are split into a 'wet room' (for all the wet drysuits) and a 'dry room' where crew change out of their day clothes into their 'woolly bears'.
the Mechanic's store, which is self-explanatory.
The St Catherine's lifeboat is an RNLI 'B class' Atlantic 85. She arrived on station in June 2010 and is named the Eric W Wilson, following a formal naming ceremony on 22 May 2011.
Click here to find out more about the station's history and the various types of lifeboat that have saved lives from St Catherine's.
The Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Eric W Wilson, has been funded by the generous legacy of Mrs Winifred M. Wilson in memory of her late husband and the lifeboat was formally named in a ceremony which took place at the St Catherine's lifeboat station on 22 May 2011. Members of the Wilson family were in attendance for the ceremony.
Mr and Mrs Wilson were themselves keen boating people for more than 40 years and Eric Wilson was involved in Mulberry Harbours during the war. Winifred Wilson, who hailed from West Yorkshire but spent the last 30 years in North Norfolk, was a Shoreline member of the RNLI and supported fundraising for the charity's Hunstanton Branch for 18 years.
In the special ceremony to name and dedicate the new lifeboat, the invited guests and the local volunteer RNLI teams celebrated the occasion with a service of dedication at the lifeboat station. The lifeboat was handed to the care of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by Mr David H. Wilson, son of Mrs Wilson and was named by his sister, Mrs Dianne P Ward. Of note was the fact that the lifeboat was dedicated by the Dean of Jersey as the Eric W Wilson was launched down the slip on active service, to attend to a motor boat in difficulties.
Group visits to the station can be arranged through Michael McNally, the Lifeboat Visits Officer - see the school visits page for more information and note that you don't have to be a school group to visit - other groups are equally welcome!