The last of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s famous Tyne class lifeboats was launched for the last time at her home station on Apr 28 this year.
That afternoon, crowds lined the pier at Wicklow to see the Annie Blaker, being launched. When she left the harbour, the Annie Blaker was joined by Wicklow’s two lifeboats, the D class and the relief Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater, and the lifeboats from Dun Laoghaire and Arklow. Also among the flotilla of local boats that escorted her were the Garda Water Unit, Wicklow Swimming Club and the Vartry Rowing Club. The lifeboat station opened early in the morning so the public could look around the Annie Blaker.
Then, at 1330, John Sillery, the head launcher at the station, struck the pin that released the lifeboat and, to loud applause, she slid down the slipway out into the water.
On board were Coxswain Nick Keogh, station mechanic Brendan Copeland and a volunteer crew picked from the station.
The Tyne class lifeboat was officially retired from the RNLI at Wicklow Lifeboat Station on Apr 5 after 30 years service there. She was replaced that day by the Jock and Annie Slater.
During her time at Wicklow, the Annie Blaker was launched on over 348 callouts and rescued 408 people.