ST IVES lifeboat station has received a major new piece of equipment to assist with launching the inshore lifeboat – a two-man, caterpillar-tracked tractor.
The Tooltrack replaces the existing inshore lifeboat tractor.
St Ives Lifeboat operations manager Derek Hall said: "We put forward a case to RNLI headquarters for the upgrade last year when the shifting sands in the harbour created sandbanks that began to cause us real concerns.
"The inshore lifeboat had to be taken through huge pools created by the banks before it could get over them to be launched.
"These pools were well over the depth which the tractor was designed to cope with and could not be got around. They began to cause us maintenance issues as the tractor was going too deep and more importantly could lead to the possibility that the tractor might become stuck in the very soft sand which would seriously affect our ability to launch quickly."
The Tooltrack is used to launch D-class inshore lifeboats at a number of RNLI stations that need something more than a conventional tractor, including Sennen Cove lifeboat station.
Mr Hall said: "Being such a different vehicle, we had two days of training for our volunteer crew and tractor drivers, launching and recovering the inshore lifeboat from the sand and from the slipway. It immediately proved to be a brilliant piece of kit and will make launching through tidal pools much easier and therefore make us more effective at saving lives at sea."