Historic boat brought back to life

An iconic 136-year-old lifeboat which helped rescue 50 people from the North Sea has been beautifully restored with help from our Yacht Coatings business.

Constructed in 1886, the Bedford was the last lifeboat to be built by the Tyne Lifeboat Institution (now the Tyne Lifeboat Society). She was launched on 55 occasions between 1887 and 1937 and is of great historical significance to the maritime heritage of South Shields.

Over the last four years, the 33ft boat has been lovingly restored by the North East Maritime Trust (NEMT), and we donated a range of coatings to help bring the Bedford back to its former glory.

“I was aware of North East Maritime Trust, as I live just five minutes down the road,” explains Jody Graham, Technical Advisor for the Yacht Coatings team at our Felling site in the UK. “We were asked if we’d like to help with the restoration and we happily agreed.”

The coatings used included Interfill 830 – a high strength and impact resistant epoxy – as well as a new topcoat system from our International range, One UP and Toplac Plus.

Adds Jody: “These products didn’t just give the Bedford a high quality finish, their superior flow also meant they could be applied using a brush or roller, which made it quicker and easier for the NEMT team to use.”

The NEMT believes the vessel is the only complete example in the world of an evolution in lifeboat design, which includes her wooden wheel carriage, oars, and life-saving equipment.

Commenting on the collaboration, the NEMT’s Dave Parker says: “We were thrilled when AkzoNobel approached us and offered to donate the coatings. The Bedford is an integral part of our maritime history and we’re delighted that the restoration has been completed. I can’t thank the AkzoNobel team enough for all their expert guidance and support during the project.”

The Bedford has now been put into safe storage until a permanent location is found for public viewing.

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