Burnham Area Rescue Boat
|Burnham Area Rescue Boat|
|Independent lifeboat station|
Spirit of Lelania
|Location||The Esplanade, TA8 1BB|
|Owner||BARB SEARCH & RESCUE|
BARB Search & Rescue (based in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset) formed in 1992 as Burnham Area Rescue Boat and is a voluntary search and rescue service that operates two rescue hovercrafts and an inshore rescue boat in the Bridgwater Bay area. It is also a registered charity.
It mainly operates BBV hovercrafts, which have been used to rescue people, animals and vehicles from the mudflats of the Bristol Channel, but also has a small inshore rescue boat. The construction of its boathouse on the seafront in 1994 was the subject of a television programme and took just three days.
Burnham-on-Sea is on the shore of the Bristol Channel and has a long sandy beach, but nearby mudflats and sandbanks have claimed several lives over the years. At low tide, large parts of the area become mudflats up to 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) wide due to the tidal range of 15 metres (49 ft), second only to Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada.
A charity appeal was established in 1992 by members of the local sailing community, to equip the town with its own inshore rescue boat. In June 1994, the boathouse was built in the space of three days by Anneka Rice and a team of builders for the BBC TV series Challenge Anneka.
A new appeal was launched in association with the Association of Search and Rescue Hovercraft (since renamed Hovercraft Search and Rescue UK) and with the backing of the Western Daily Press. This raised £115,000 to buy a rescue hovercraft, which could operate on mud and in shallow water that was unapproachable for the inshore rescue boat. It arrived on 22 March 2003, and during its first year of operation up to 50 people were rescued.
BARB asked the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to take over inshore rescue boat work on the coast, which it did on 23 December 2003. It operates an B-class (Atlantic 75) Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) and a D-class (IB1) inflatable boat from Burnham-on-Sea Lifeboat Station which is a short distance from the BARB boathouse and complements their hovercraft.
The BARB headquarters are in a single-storey block building that matches the adjacent tourist information centre and public conveniences. The boathouse is at the north end and the Coastguard have facilities at the other end of the building.
Inshore rescue boat
The inshore rescue boat is an Jeanneau Rigiflex boat that can operate in calm waters.
Spirit of Lelania
It is 5.25 metres (17 ft 3 in) long and 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) wide. Initially powered by a 110 hp (82 kW) engine, it has a cruising speed of 20 knots (37 km/h) over water.
Light of Elzabeth
A new larger Italian-designed hovercraft replaced Light Of Elizabeth in 2013. It was funded by donations from local individuals and groups and is made of kevlar rather than fibreglass to make it more resiliant.
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