The owner of a boat that was previously used by the Port St Mary RNLI branch has put it up for sale with the hope it will be bought by someone in the island.

John Shawcroft, of Southport, bought the now named Southport Girl in 1977 after its 21 years of service, including saving the lives of three lighthouse keepers during the fire on Chicken Rock in 1961.

A retired fireman, 78-year-old John has been renovating the vessel for the last three years, he said: ‘I’m very sad to say goodbye to her. She has been a friend for the past 45 years, but I am getting too old to get the best out of her.

‘We have cruised around the Scottish lochs and Irish Sea, including several trips to the Isle of Man, where she has always had a friendly welcome, especially in Port St Mary. I would be so happy if she could spend the rest of her retirement on the island.’

The 46’9” long vessel was used by the lifesaving charity during the rescue operation on Chicken Rock, picking up three men from the outcrop during a gale and, though one keeper was badly burned, saving all of their lives.

The Watson class vessel was initially called the Colby Cubbin 2, receiving its original title in memory of Manxman Robert Colby Cubbin who died in 1951, leaving his fortune to his mother whose estate then donated four lifeboats to RNLI branches across the island and Scotland when she also passed. Robert Colby Cubbin and his mother are buried in specially consecrated ground at Eary Cushlin on the island.

There were also ‘Colby Cubbin’ boats given to Douglas and Barra Island in Scotland as well as the E.M.M Gordon Cubbin which went to Malaig, Scotland.

Following John’s renovations, alongside friends, ‘the double diagonal mahogany hull, supported by oak frames, has been taken down to bare wood and repainted. The steering gear and rudder have been rebuilt as have the engine fuel injection pumps.’

John said: ‘She is no floating gin palace but is as seaworthy as ever.

‘She is ideal for crossing to England, Scotland and Wales, with a range of 350 nautical miles using just 2.5 gallons of diesel an hour. The Ferry engines start on the button and even have emergency flywheel hand start.’

Southport Girl is currently out of water at Dickies Boatyard in Bangor, North Wales and interested parties are encouraged to ring John for more information on 01248 363400.