Mevagissey harbour  Visiting Cornwall Logo - background is part of Bodmin Moor as seen from Jamaica Inn at Altarnun. The road in the picture is the main A30 through Cornwall. Eden Project near St Austell 


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All Weather Lifeboats


Inshore Lifeboats

Atlantic 75 (B Class)
Atlantic 85 (B Class)
D Class
E Class

Other Boats

Boarding Boats
X Class
XP Class
Y Class

Most of this information and images have been supplied by the RNLI Copyright

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Severn class lifeboat
General Information The Severn class lifeboat was introduced in 1995 and is the largest in the RNLI fleet. It carries a Y class inflatable boat that can be launched from the lifeboat with a crane. The Severn has the same hull shape as the Trent class.
Length 17 metres
Speed 25 knots
Range 250 nautical miles
Construction Hull: Fibre reinforced composite with single-skin section below the chine and 100mm thick foam-cored sandwich above.
Deck and superstructure: 25mm foam-cored sandwich.
Crew Six
Weight 41 Tonnes
Launch Moored afloat
Cornish Stations Richard Cox Scott (17-29) at Falmouth
Ivan Ellen (17-36) at Penlee
The Whiteheads (17-11) at St Marys, Isles of Scilly
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Trent class lifeboat
General Information The Trent class was introduced in 1994. It has the same hull shape as the Severn class but is a smaller version. The sheerline sweeps down the side of the vessel for easier recovery of survivors.
Length 14 metres
Speed 25 knots
Range 250 nautical miles
Construction FRC (Fibre Reinforced Composite)
Crew Six
Weight 27.5 Tonnes
Launch Moored afloat
Cornish Stations Maurice and Joyce Hardy (14-18) at Fowey
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Mersey class lifeboat - The Princess Royal at St Ives
General Information The Mersey class lifeboat was introduced in 1988 and was the first of the "fast" carriage lifeboats. Although designed to be launched from a carriage this type of lifeboat can be launched from a slipway or can be moored afloat. It has a box-shaped wheelhouse that is set well to the rear of the vessel. The propellors are protected by partial tunnels and substantial bilge keels. The last Mersey was built in 1993.
Length 12 metres
Speed 17 knots
Range 140 nautical miles
Construction Aluminium or fibre reinforced composite
Crew Six
Weight 13 Tonnes
Launch Carriage, afloat or slipway
Cornish Stations HRH The Princess Royal, (Civil Service No 41) (12-009) at St Ives
The Four Boys (12-19) was at Sennen Cove from 1991 to 1998.
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Tyne class lifeboat
General Information The Tyne class lifeboat was the first "fast" slipway lifeboat. It is the main slipway launched lifeboat class but it can also lie afloat. Features include a low-profile wheelhouse and a separate cabin behind the upper steering position. The propellers are protected by substantial bilge keels. The last Tyne was built in 1990 and the class is gradually being replaced by the Tamar class.
Length 14.3 metres (47 feet)
Beam 4.48 mstres (14 feet 8 inches)
Speed 17 knots
Range 240 nautical miles
Construction Steel
Crew Six (plus doctor)
Weight 25 Tonnes
Launch Slipway or afloat
Cornish Stations None currently stationed in Cornwall
David Robinson (47-030) was at The Lizard from August 1988 to 23 July 2011
Norman Salvesen (47-016) was at Sennen Cove from 25 March 1998 to 6 October 2009
James Burrough (47-003) was at Padstow from 1984 to 2006
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Tamar class lifeboat - Spirit Of Padstow
General Information The Tamar class lifeboat was the RNLI's latest design in service, until the Shannon was introduced in 2013, and was destined to replace the ageing Tyne class, which is coming towards the end of its useful life. The Tamar is larger and faster than the Tyne and can be launched from a slipway or lie afloat. It includes a computerised Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) that enables crew to control many of the lifeboat's functions remotely from the safety of their seats. Other features include advanced ergonomics, that reduce the impact on the crew as the lifeboat crashes through waves, and a powered Y boat stored, fully inflated, behind a transom door to allow immediate deployment. The first Tamar went on station at Tenby in Wales in 2006. 27 Tamar class lifeboats were built between 2006 and 2013.
Length 16 metres
Beam 5 metres
Draught 1.35 metres
Speed 25 knots
Range 250 nautical miles
Endurance 10 hours at 25 knots
Construction Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP)
Power Two 1000HP turbo charged diesels
Fuel Tank 4,300 litres (3.75 tonnes or 1,000 gallons)
Crew Six plus doctor
Weight 31.5 Tonnes
Cost Current estimate is around 2.4m each
Launch Slipway or afloat
Cornish Stations City of London III (16-14) at Sennen Cove
Spirit of Padstow (16-04) at Padstow
Rose (16-20) at The Lizard
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Drawing of Shannon class lifeboat Depiction of Shannon class lifeboat and her special tractor unit

General Information The first Shannon class lifeboat, Jock and Annie Slater, was accepted into the RNLI Relief fleet on 11th July 2013. The Shannon will gradually replace the Mersey class lifeboat, which first came into service in 1989 and is now nearing the end of its planned 25-year life span.
This is the first RNLI sea-going lifeboat to be powered by Hamilton waterjets instead of propellers, making it more manoeuvrable and safer to operate in shallow waters, as well as reducing the risk of damage during launch and recovery.
Length 13 metres
Speed 25 knots
Range 250 nautical miles
Construction Fibre-reinforced plastic
Crew 6 (including doctor)
Weight/Displacement 18 tonnes (maximum)
Survivor capacity 6 seated plus 17 standing inside
Launch Launched from a specially designed tractor-borne carriage and recovered onto the carriage bow first after grounding on the beach.
Cornish Stations Norah Stachura (13-11) at St Ives

The RNLI tested the launch carriage at Hayle on 2nd November 2007 - Watch this video:

This RNLI video shows you what the Shannon looks like inside and out:
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D Class (ILB)
D Class Inshore Lifeboat Photo by RNLI
General Information The D class has been the workhorse of the service since the 1970's. It is small and highly manoeuvrable, making it ideal for rescues close to shore in fair to moderate conditions. It has a single outboard engine and can be righted manually by the crew following a capsize. The design of the D class has continued to evolve since its introduction. The details below are for the latest version that was introduced in 2003.
Length 4.95 metres (16 ft 5 in)
Beam 2.0 metres (6 ft 7 in)
Speed 25 knots
Endurance 3 hours at maximum speed
Construction Fibre reinforced plastic hull
Nylon coated hypalon fabric
Engine 50 hp Immersion Proofed
Crew Two to three
Weight 400 kilograms (880 lb)
Launch By trolley or by davit
Cornish Stations Henry Philip (D-617) at Bude
Olive Two (D-610) at Fowey
Copeland Bell (D-707)at Port Isaac
Rusper (D-634) at Rock
Blue Peter IV (D-641) at St Agnes
Colin Bramley Parker (D-668) at St Ives
Ollie Naismith (D-741) at Looe
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E Class lifeboat on the Thames
General Information Introduced in 2002, this is the fastest lifeboat in the whole of the RNLI fleet
It is a fast response craft, developed for use with waterjets, and is used at two stations on the River Thames (Chiswick and Tower Pier). The E class can operate in both daylight and darkness and has an assisted righting capacity similar to the B class. The Mark II was introduced in 2011.
Length 9 metres (Mk I), 10.5 metres (Mk II)
Beam 2.8 metres
Top Speed 33 knots (Mk I), 40 knots (Mk II)
Range 160 nautical miles
Endurance 3 hours (Mk I), 4 hours (Mk II) at maximum speed
Construction Marine-grade aluminium alloy hull with a closed-cell polythene foam collar (Mk I), Glass epoxy-resin composite hull with solid closed-cell foam with polyurethane covering collar (Mk II)
Propulsion Twin Hamilton water jets
Engines Two Steyr 246 turbo diesels – 240hp each (Mk I), two Volvo D6 435 marine diesels – 435hp each
Crew Three (Mk I), Four (Mk II)
Weight 3.86 tonnes (Mk I), 5.4 to 5.9 tonnes (Mk II)
Launch Moored afloat
Cornish Stations There are no E class lifeboats in Cornwall. All the E class lifeboats are stationed on the River Thames
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Atlantic 75 Inshore Lifeboat
General Information This rigid inflatable lifeboat was introduced in 1993 to replace the Atlantic 21. The '75' comes from the length, at just under 7.5 metres. The 'Atlantic' comes Atlantic College in Wales, where the first Atlantic 21s were developed.
Length 7.38 metres (25 feet)
Beam 2.65 metres (8.7 feet)
Speed 32 knots (37 MPH / 59 KPH)
Endurance 3 hours at maximum speed
Construction Polyester glass reinforced fibre
Crew Three
Weight 1.6 tonnes
Launch Carriage, davit or afloat
Cornish Stations Alan & Margaret (B-793) at Looe
Paul Alexander (B-787) at Penlee
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Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat at Minehead
Photo by Peter Creech
General Information Introduced in 2005 the Atlantic 85 is the third generation B-class RIB following on from the Atlantic 21 and Atlantic 75. The Atlantic 85 is fitted with radar and VHF direction finding equipment and can be operated safely in daylight in a force 6 to 7 gale and at night in a force 5 to 6 gale.
The Atlantic 85 now has intercom communications between the crew and VHF radio via their helmets
Length 8.44 metres
Speed 35 knots
Range / Duration 2.5 hours at full speed
Construction Carbon fibre and foam core laminate. Fibre Reinforced Composite with a Hypalon tube
Crew Four
Weight 1.8 tonnes
Launch Carriage, davit or afloat
Cornish Stations Gladys Mildred at Newquay
Robina Nixon Chard at Falmouth
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Hovercraft lifeboat
General Information Hovercraft were introduced into the fleet in 2002. They are able to operate in mud, sand and very shallow water and are particularly useful for shoreline searches. Lift is provided by a build up of air pressure under the craft and thrust by two large fans mounted on the back that act in the same way as aeroplane propellers. Steering is provided by aerofoil-shaped rudders located behind the propellers.
Length 8 metres
Speed 30 knots
Range / Duration 3 hours at maximum speed
Construction Marine grade aluminium with moulded fibre reinforced composites
Crew Two to four
Weight 2.4 tonnes
Launch A hovercraft can be launched from any flat area, such as a car park, a beach, a field or a road, provided there is enough room. Hovercrafts are moved from place to place using specialist transporter vehicles.
Cornish Stations No hovercraft is stationed in Cornwall.
(There are four in service at Hunstanton, Morecambe, New Brighton and Southend-on-Sea)
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General Information The X-Class Lifeboat is used as a small tender carried on board the RNLI All Weather lifeboats. They are normally found carried onboard Tyne and Mersey class lifeboats. They are also carried onboard the new Shannon class.
Primarily used for assisting in cliff incidents where the casualty is near the water but the All Weather Lifeboat can not get into the base of the cliffs due to rocks. Also used for operating in shallow water near beaches and in estuaries.
Length 2.5 metres (8.2 feet)
Range Normally within sight of the All Weather Lifeboat
Crew Two
Launch Manually launched from the "mother" lifeboat
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XP Class
General Information Usually carried on board the "mother" lifeboat. Carried on Trent class lifeboats for use in cliff incidents where the casualty is near the water and rocks prevent the Trent from getting near the base of the cliff. A few XPs, with greater propulsion, work alongside inshore lifeboats on river estuaries and on The Broads.
Length 2.8 metres / 9.2 feet
Speed 10 knots (Trent) or 25 knots (Broads)
Propulsion Single Mariner outboard of 5hp (Trent) or 10hp (Broads)
Endurance 2 hours at top speed
Crew One or Two
Launch Normally launched from the "mother" lifeboat
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Y class inflatable lifeboat in storage compartment of Tamar class lifeboat
Photo taken by Robert Kilpin. Used under GNU Free Documentation License
General Information Stored fully inflated in a compartment behind the transom of the "mother" lifeboat. Mother boats are now Severn and Tamar class lifeboats. (Y boats were used on the Arun class lifeboats before these were retired.)
Length 3 metres (9 ft 8 in)
Speed 25 knots (29 mph / 46 kph)
Range Within visual range of the mother lifeboat.
Crew One or Two
Launch Launched from rear of "mother" lifeboat
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Boarding boat used to reach the moored-afloat All Weather Lifeboat at St Marys, Isles of Scilly
General Information A variety of vessels are used as boarding boats to get from the shore to the lifeboats that are moored afloat away from any pontoon or harbour wall.

At St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly the boarding boat is launched down the lifeboat station slipway to get the crew to the Arun class lifeboat stationed on a harbour mooring. This is the only place in the UK where this happens. (See image above)
Specifications A variety of boats are used as boarding boats, including inflatables, but no standard RNLI boarding boat.
Launch Various methods of launching: Slipway (St Marys IOS only), davit, crane or moored alongside the harbour.
Cornish Stations BB-234 at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
BB-235 at Falmouth
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Arancia inflatable lifeboat
General Information This is a small Beach Rescue Craft used mainly for surf rescue and operated from the beach. Used by the RNLI since 2001. They are are hand-built at the RNLI Inshore lifeboat centre in Cowes. The Arancias are also used by the RNLI Flood Rescue Teams.
Length 3.88 metres (12.7 feet)
Speed 22 knots
Beam 1.73 metres (5.7 feet)
Range 20 nautical miles
Construction Bonded dupont hypalon polyester 1100 duratex
Crew Two
Weight 165 Kg
Launch Trailer or trolley
Cornish Locations The South West Flood Rescue Team is based at Saltash.

RNLI Lifeguards patrol the following beaches in Cornwall: Gyllynvase, Poldhu Cove, Praa Sands, Porthcurno, Sennen, Gwenver, Porthmeor, Porthminster, Hayle Towans, Mexico Towans, Upton Towans, Gwithian, Godrevy, Portreath, Chapel Porth, St Agnes, Perransands, Holywell, Crantock, South Fistral, Great Western, Tolcarne, Porth, Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth, Porthcothan, Treyarnon, Constantine, Booby’s Bay, Trevone, Trebarwith, Black Rock, Crooklets and Sandymouth.

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