1982: The Tyne class lifeboat

Twice as fast as the motor lifeboats she was designed to replace, the first fast slipway boat – the Tyne class lifeboat – launched in 1982.
Selsey RNLI's first Tyne class lifeboat, City of London, launching down the slipway.

Photo: John Periam

Selsey RNLI’s first Tyne class lifeboat, City of London, launching down the slipway

Twice as fast as the motor lifeboats she was designed to replace, the Tyne class lifeboat launched in 1982.

She was the first fast slipway boat (FSB1) and could launch from existing lifeboat slipways or lie afloat in shallow waters.

The name Tyne was chosen because ex-Coxswain at Tynemouth, Paulin Denham Christie, was a big part of the fast slipway boat project.

Designed to last

Volunteer lifeboat crew have saved lives at sea on Tyne class lifeboats for more than 30 years

Photo: John Periam

Volunteer lifeboat crew have saved lives at sea on Tyne class lifeboats for more than 30 years 

Tyne class lifeboats were developed from a design by the National Maritime Institute.

The Tyne has a compact superstructure and her steel hull and fully protected propellers take into account the stresses and strains of slipway launching.

Features include a low-profile wheelhouse and a separate cabin behind the upper steering position.

First Tyne named

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London with the Duke of Atholl, looking at the City of London Christening on the 1st of November 1982.

Photo: Jeff Morris

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London with the Duke of Atholl, looking at the City of London Christening cake on 1 November 1982

On 1 November 1982 the first Tyne was named City of London, after an appeal set up by the Lord Mayor of London.

Describing the new lifeboat at the naming ceremony, Rear Admiral WJ Graham, RNLI Director at the time, said:

‘The RNLI prides itself on being able to put into the hands of our lifeboatmen the best possible tools for the job. You see before you the latest example of our wares which I believe live up to our traditions of excellence, ingenuity, practicality, ruggedness and, if I may call it such, "with-itness".

‘… having more than twice the performance of the older 47ft Watson or 48ft 6in Oakley . . . she had to have protected propellers . . . she needed large powerful engines . . . and of course she must carry the latest navigational aids, radio direction finding and survival equipment. Very much a quart in a pint pot.’

City of London entered service at Selsey in November 1983 – the start of more than 30 years of Tyne class lifeboats at the station.

FBM Marine at Cowes in the Isle of Wight built 40 Tyne class lifeboats. Production ended in 1990 and the much-loved Tyne class lifeboats are being gradually replaced by the new Tamar class lifeboat.