Wonderful Willie delivers pioneering AIS system to Lifeboat

KEEPING TRACK...The Portrush Lifeboat Operations Manager and crew accepting the new AIS system from Wilie Gregg. Cr3-131pl
KEEPING TRACK...The Portrush Lifeboat Operations Manager and crew accepting the new AIS system from Wilie Gregg. Cr3-131pl
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PORTRUSH Lifeboat has now been fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) - thanks to the generosity of a well known charity fundraiser.

Willie Gregg - the brains behind Willie’s Orphan Fund, and an award-winning barman at the nearby Harbour Bar - raised the money for the automatic tracking system at his recent all-star quiz night.

AIS is used on ships to enable them to be identified and located by electronically exchanging data with other ships and AIS base stations.

The information supplements marine radar which is the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

The exciting thing about the AIS is that it will allow the Coastguard, family and friends of the lifeboats to track the progress and to see exactly where the boat is when out on an operation.

Robin Cardwell Lifeboat Operations manager for the Portrush Station said: “This is an exciting step forward in technology for Portrush Station and the RNLI.

“AIS means that we can track the Lifeboat from the shore and know where they are when they are at sea. This is also an important step in sea safety and will enhance the safety features of the Lifeboats.

“We are indebted to Willie for fundraising for this important piece of equipment and would like to thank him on behalf of the crew”

Willie, whose brother Kerry used to be Deputy Coxswain on the lifeboat, attended a meeting last Monday night to hand over the AIS to cox Des Austin and lifeboat crew members.