Scots boating club becomes first in UK to unveil electric safety vessel  

Wormit Boating Club officially launched the safety and training vessel on the River Tay estuary on May, 24.

A Scottish boating club has become the first in the UK to unveil a fully electric safety vessel in Fife.

Wormit Boating Club officially launched the safety and training vessel on the River Tay estuary on May, 24.

Members of the club and public gathered on Saturday to officially unveil the boat’s name, eWOC (electric Wormit Operational Craft), which was given by Wormit Primary School pupil Archie Dowdell.

The latest model Pulse 63 RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) was purpose-built for the Wormit Boating Club and Watersports Hub by RS Electric Boats in Hampshire.

With a top speed of up to 23 knots, a range of up to 100 nautical miles and capacity for up to six people, the new vessel is a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to the club’s ageing existing safety boats, which are fuelled by petrol.

Commodore Ralph Webster (in blue), with Alex Middleton of RS Marine Group (grey jacket), Wormit Primary School pupil Archie Dowdell, and Andrew Lumsden, volunteer RYA Powerboat instructor (sunglasses). Photo by Ross Johnston/Newsline Media.Supplied

The latest addition to their fleet comes after a devastating fire during the Covid-19 lockdown that was the catalyst for rejuvenating the club.

The clubhouse was repaired by the members themselves and paddleboarding, kayaking and open water swimming were added to the club’s activities bringing in new members.

A secure kayak shed and additional storage facility has also recently been constructed, and there are plans that a new two-storey clubhouse will follow the eco-friendly rescue craft and newly enhanced facilities.

The purchase of the £100,000 vessel was made possible by a grant from the Crown Estate Scotland as well as donations from local companies, individuals and club funds.

The new boat will support the club’s current 225 members who take part in a range of watersports between the Tay road and rail bridges, including open water swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, skiff rowing, dinghy sailing and powerboating.

Ralph Webster, Commodore of the Wormit club, said: “As a small but friendly boating club in Fife, we are proud to be the first in the UK to have this fantastic electric safety vessel, pioneering the use of its innovative design, features and specification on our local waters.

“We are all trying to help clean up the River Tay so are very aware of our commitment to preserving the local area, so as well as being the next generation in safety boats, eWOC is both sustainable and kind to the marine environment which provides so much enjoyment to our members.

“This lifesaving rescue boat will be the first of its type in Scotland and we are hopeful the modern technology will help us to continue to reduce levels of pollution, as our other sporting activities are generally carbon neutral.”

Captain Webster added: “As a registered charity, we’d also like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has supported the fundraising campaign for the Pulse 63 RIB which has allowed us to lead the way in the UK as well as ensuring our members can continue to enjoy a host of watersports with the vital support of the safety vessel.”

The club’s volunteer RYA Powerboat instructor Andrew Lumsden will also use this vessel as part of the RYA Powerboat Level 2 Courses run by the club.

This will give those on the course a chance to experience new boat technology in addition to the club’s current fleet of petrol-powered vessels.

Andrew said: “We are delighted to have received this vessel in full compliance and safety guidelines as set by the RYA and offers fully inboard seating for increased safety during Powerboat courses.”

Jon Partridge, co-CEO of manufacturer RS Marine Group, said it was pleased to work with the club.

“We were pleased to work with Wormit Boating Club to supply its new vessel, which features advanced electric propulsion, is economically efficient and virtually silent.

“As well as being completely environmentally friendly, the boat requires ultra-low maintenance.

“It has a real-time range and uses the very latest technology to comply with the RYA Power and Safety Boat standards. We hope the club and its members will be very happy with their new vessel,” he said.

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