New inshore lifeboat Hugo Missen goes on service at Porthcawl RNLI

Wednesday 26 January was a day of mixed emotions for the volunteers at Porthcawl RNLI when the charity’s new D Class lifeboat D861 Hugo Missen arrived at Porthcawl.

D861 Hugo Missen being lifted by Hiab from the RNLI transport lorry

Porthcawl RNLI/Stephen Jones

D861 Hugo Missen arriving at Porthcawl

The lifeboat has been named in memory of Helm Joseph Missen and his fiancé Jessica Entwistle’s son who sadly lost his brave fight against cancer in December 2016 aged just 15 months of age. Hugo was also the grandson of Porthcawl RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Philip Missen MBE.

The new D Class lifeboat D861 Hugo Missen replaces the relief lifeboat D776 Super G II which has been temporarily based at Porthcawl since 2020. Porthcawl’s previous D Class D714 Jean Ryall has now returned to the Inshore Lifeboat Centre in Cowes.

The new lifeboat Hugo Missen has been funded by several donors from restricted funds and was launched on a training exercise for the very first time on Wednesday evening with Joseph Missen as helm.

Subject to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be a special naming ceremony and dedication for the Hugo Missen to be held in Porthcawl later this year.

Chris Page, volunteer helm and press officer for Porthcawl RNLI said, ‘The arrival of the new lifeboat has been both an exciting but poignant time for the volunteers at Porthcawl RNLI. Whilst Hugo was never able to serve on Porthcawl’s crew himself, it is a fitting tribute to the very bravest of young boys that the new lifeboat is named in his memory and that his name will be associated with saving lives at sea here at Porthcawl for many years to come.’

The inflatable D class lifeboat is known as the workhorse of the RNLI and was first introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1963. The design continues to evolve to meet changes in demand and technology. With a top speed of 25 knots it can operate for up to three hours at maximum speed making her ideal for search and rescue missions.

The D Class is highly manoeuvrable and usually operates closer to shore than Porthcawl’s larger Atlantic 85 lifeboat. The D class comes into its own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations – often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.

The D class carries medical equipment to provide casualty care and is also equipped for use at night. In the event of a capsize the boat can be manually righted by crew and the engine restarted. All D class lifeboats are built and maintained at the RNLI’s Inshore Lifeboat Centre at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Joe and Chris Missen looking on at D861 Hugo Missen

Porthcawl RNLI/Stephen Jones

D861 Hugo Missen being viewed by brothers Joe and Chris Missen
The Lifeboat Operations Manager, Philip Missen polishes the name plaque on D861 Hugo Missen

Porthcawl RNLI/Stephen Jones

The Lifeboat Operations Manager, Philip Missen polishes the name plaque on D861 Hugo Missen
D861 Hugo Missen being manoeuvred on the launch trailer

Porthcawl RNLI/Stephen Jones

D861 Hugo Missen being manoeuvred on its launch trailer
Landrover reverses back on the beach to launch D861 Hugo Missen for the first time

Porthcawl RNLI/Stephen Jones

First launch of D861 Hugo Missen on training exercise with Joseph Missen as helm
The landrover prepares to recover D861 Hugo Missen at the waters edge following its first launch on traning exercise.

Porthcawl RNLI/Stephen Jones

The crew return following the first launch of D861 Hugo Missen

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or FacebookTwitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI – public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.