The RNLI has chosen Toyota Hilux pick-ups, through leasing company Tuskerdirect, as its patrol vehicles for its Beach Rescue Initiative. Every year thousands of life-threatening incidents occur on and near Britain’s beaches. This year the Royal National Lifeboat Institution puts its Beach Rescue service into full operation in a bid to reduce the frequency of these occurances.
Twenty new Hilux EX Double Cabs, will patrol both popular promenades and remote beaches. The pick-ups will carry full emergency gear, defibrillators, spinal collars, oxygen and other medical supplies.
The vehicles are being supplied on full-maintenance contract hire over three years through Tuskerdirect and involves complete financial, operational and mechanical management of the Beach Rescue fleet to take the administrative burden away from the organisation.
The RNLI Transport Department conducted a comparative study of 4×4 contenders from seven manufacturers with operational requirements playing a major part in the decision-making process. There were a number of important considerations for the RNLI in achieving the right balance of practicality, reliability and economy in their choice of suppliers for this important venture. The necessary vehicle requirements included good ground clearance and interior space, manoeuvrability and all-terrain ability.
Their leasing partner needed to be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of their operational requirements as well as the ability to put together a strong financial package which made the whole operation as cost effective as possible.
Tuskerdirect assisted with not only the vehicle specification process but also negotiated excellent financial support for the RNLI within the deal.
David Tidman, RNLI Transport Manager explained: “We presented the findings and it was decided fairly quickly to stay with Toyota. The Hilux pickups were the most suitable vehicles to do the job required of them; as for comfort,” he says, “the provision of air-conditioning as standard on 2002 Hilux pickups is a big bonus for the crews.”
The new generation of Hilux EX Double Cab is powered by a D-4D 2.4 litre turbo-diesel engine, putting out 102bhp and 140lb ft of torque. It drives through a five-speed gearbox with high/low ratios, selectable 2/4WD and limited-slip differential. Payload is 1,035kg and five people can be carried in comfort.
Beach Rescue represents the first attempt to provide a co-ordinated service from beach to open sea in co-operation with local authorities, volunteer lifeguard clubs, local lifeboat stations and the Coastguard.
“We are very pleased to be able to play a part with the RNLI in such a significant initiative,” says Jon Pollock, Toyota Fleet’s General Manager.
“The Hilux is a genuine multi-purpose vehicle and has earned a name for durability and reliability over the years, but we feel this latest D-4D model will build even further on that reputation.”