A vessel in the UK, built in 1973 to help save lives at sea for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, still relies on the original Cat® D343 engines to power the vessel.
The William J Arnold was built by the UK-based philanthropic organization with the sole purpose of saving lives at sea on the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The vessel played a significant role in many rescues, including the courageous Bonita Rescue in 1981.
Designed by the RNLI, the William J Arnold was a member of the Arun class of lifeboats, built with wooden hulls and large airtight cabins for sea-righting capabilities. The all-weather boats were designed for the fiercest of waters, with survivor cabins below deck as well as compartments to prevent sinking.
Powering the vessel to countless at-sea rescues were two Cat D343 marine engines, each providing 460 hp of rated power. Introduced to the market in 1960 and manufactured in Mossville, Illinois, the Cat D343 series were inline, six cylinder marine engines with a 5.4” (137 mm bore).
After 23 years of stellar service while stationed in Guernsey, UK, the William J Arnold was sold into private ownership. The current owner, John O’Regan, bought the vessel in 2005 and converted the inside so he and his family could enjoy the vessel for recreational cruising.
Renamed the Samuel J Arun, the O’Regan family still relies on the original Cat D343 engines to power the vessel over 30 years after they were originally installed. Cat dealers Finning UK and Finning IRL have played a key role in the reliable performance of the Cat engines - keeping them up and running, initially as a lifeboat and now as a recreational vessel.
“The engines are reliable and rugged, with realistic consumption,” said O’Regan. “Parts are easy to get and the growl of the engines is like music to our ears.”