South East Wales

Students' inflatable rescue boat wins engineering award

rib Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption The boat has been awarded the Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

A rescue boat built by Welsh students has been honoured as an engineering icon - on a par with Concorde and London's Tower Bridge.

The rigid inflatable boat (RIB) was put together by students from the independent UWC Atlantic College in the Vale of Glamorgan in the early 1960s.

It has gone on to become the world's most widely used inshore rescue boat.

The RIB has been awarded the Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Past recipients of the award include the Jaguar E Type car, the Concorde aircraft and the Bletchley Park Bombe decryption machine Enigma, designed by Alan Turing.

Image copyright uwc atlantic college
Image caption Students built several prototypes, including the Psychedelic Surfer in 1969

The original RIB named "Naomi" has been fully restored and was described by the award committee as a "very important engineering artefact".

The boat's design was conceived by the first headmaster of Atlantic College, Rear-Admiral Desmond Hoare, before being built and test-driven by the college's students.

Atlantic College principal John Walmsley said: "It's a huge honour for a project pioneered by our students to win an award along[side] such illustrious previous recipients.

"We will be awarded a red plaque that will be displayed at the seafront on the boathouse next to Naomi."

The award was given in honour of the design and construction of the RIB and also for the gift of the patent to the RNLI "for the humanitarian saving of lives and the global contribution to rescue".

Atlantic College, a coastal boarding school for students from around the world, was founded in 1962 at the 12th Century St Donat's Castle near Llantwit Major.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption As part of the pupils' maritime studies and community work in 1969 they built the first ever rigid inflatable rescue boat known as the Atlantic class

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