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Tamar

There are currently six classes of all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet: Shannon; Tamar; Severn; Trent; Tyne; and Mersey.

Designed to be launched from a slipway, with her mast and aerials being lowered to fit into a boathouse, the Tamar can also lie afloat.

Key features

  • Systems and information Management system
  • Self righting
  • Righting and restarting
  • Navigation and communication

The Tamar is fitted with an integrated electronic Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) so that the crew can monitor, operate and control many of the boat’s systems directly from their shock-mitigating seats, improving their safety.  

Technical specifications

The bespoke seats enhance crew comfort and safety. They also incorporate essential controls such as throttles and joystick with the trackball for the SIMS screen close to hand.  The Tamar’s propellers and rudders lie in partial tunnels set into the hull that, along with steel-lined main and bilge keels, provide excellent protection from damage in shallow water or slipway operations. 

In addition to her twin engines, the lifeboat is fitted with a hydraulic-powered bow thruster for improved manoeuvrability.  The Tamar carries a Y boat, an inflatable powered daughter boat housed under the aft deck, which can be deployed from a hinged door in the transom.

The Y boat has a 15hp outboard engine and is used in moderate conditions to access areas the lifeboat cannot reach.  Comprehensive first aid equipment includes stretchers, oxygen and Entonox and other equipment includes a portable salvage pump carried in a watertight container. 

The first Tamar went on station at Tenby in Wales in 2006 and the Tamar class lifeboats will gradually replace the Tyne class.  

Image of Kilmore Quay’s Tamar class lifeboat in rough seas. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

Date introduced:

2005​

Launch type:

Slipway or afloat​

Number in fleet:

16 at stations plus 4 in the relief fleet​

Crew:

7​

Length:

16.3m​

Beam/width:

5.3m​

Draught/depth:

1.4m​

Displacement:

32 tonnes​

Max speed:

25 knots​

Fuel capacity:

4,600 litres​

Range/endurance:

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​

Engines:

2 x Caterpillar C18 marine diesel; 1,001hp each at 2,300rpm​

Survivor capacity:

Self-righting – 44

Non self-righting – 118​

Image of SIMS on Tamar class lifeboat. Photo: RNLI/Nigel MillardSIMS

The integrated electronic Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) offers the crew the ability to monitor, operate and control many of the boat’s systems directly from the safety of their seats. 

SIMS provides access to all communications (VHF, MF, DF, intercom), navigation (radar, chart, DGPS, depth and speed) and machinery monitoring including engines, transmission, fuel and bilge.

 

Image of aerial shot of Tamar class lifeboat in action. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

Wartime mine shout

Walton and Frinton lifeboat was at the centre of national media attention during a 5-day operation to blow up a huge parachute mine originally dropped by a Luftwaffe raider in the Second World War. 

The Irene Muriel Rees was called to the 168m Congo River after the 2,000lb bomb got stuck in the dredger’s suction pipe about 9 miles offshore on Friday 15 July.

The Tamar class lifeboat launched twice to ferry Navy bomb disposal experts and equipment to the dredger and stood-by while 27 non-essential crew were evacuated.  Navy personnel freed the still shiny bomb – in a delicate condition due to a damaged skin – and returned it to the seabed. Weather delays meant it was Tuesday before the 70-year-old mine was detonated in 27m of water, sending a 90m plume of water into the sky.

Image of Barrow Tamar class lifeboat launching from slipway. Photo: Nicholas Leach

 

Locations of Tamar class lifeboats 

(As at September 2011) ​

Angle

Appledore

Barrow

Bembridge

Cromer

Eastbourne

Kilmore Quay

Longhope

Padstow

Peterhead

Salcombe

Sennen Cove

 

Shoreham Harbour

St Helier

Tenby

The Lizard

Walton and Frinton

Relief fleet

4 lifeboats

  • Padstow Image of Padstow boathouse and Tamar class lifeboat launching down slipway. Photo: RNLI/Nigel
  • Sennen Cove Image of relief Tamar undertaking slipway trials at Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station. Photo: Tim Stevens
  • Kilmore Quay Image of Kilmore Quay’s Tamar class lifeboat crew using searchlights. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard
  • Bembridge Image of naming ceremony and dedication of Tamar class lifeboat and boathouse at Bembridge Lifeboat Station. Photo: Nicholas Leach
  • Aerial shot Image of aerial shot of Tamar class lifeboat in action. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard
  • Kimore Quay Image of Kilmore Quay’s Tamar class lifeboat in rough seas. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard
  • Tenby Image of Tenby’s boathouse and Tamar class lifeboat on slipway. Photo: RNLI/Eleanor Driscoll
  • Padstow Padstow lifeboat launching down slipway aerial shot - Nigel Millard
  • Shoreham Image of Shoreham Harbour’s Tamar class lifeboat launching from slipway. Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams
  • Tamar Longships Lighthouse Image of relief Tamar class lifeboat and Navy search and rescue helicopter off Longships Lighthouse. Photo: Alan Purton
  • Tamar launching from slipway Image of Barrow Tamar class lifeboat launching from slipway. Photo: Nicholas Leach
  • Lifeboat recovering Y boat Image of Tenby lifeboat crew recovering the Y boat onto the Tamar class lifeboat. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard