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50th Anniversary of RNLI workhorses

Lifeboats News Release

The workhorses of the RNLI fleet, the D class inshore lifeboats, have been saving lives for many years. Next week marks the 50th anniversary, since the first inshore lifeboat (ILB) arrived at Fleetwood RNLI.

The first ILB was unnamed, but numbered No.91 and arrived for a summer season at the beginning of May, 1966. Since then, five more ILBs, the latest named Mary Elizabeth Barnes, have been ‘on service’ at Fleetwood, working alongside the larger all-weather lifeboat.


Their arrival in 1966 helped save the lives of around 120 people and they’ve been involved in almost 1,000 rescue operations in the past 50 years.


The D class ILBs have a crew of either two or three and can reach speeds of 25 knots, making it a vital asset to the volunteer lifeboat crew at Fleetwood, especially when rescuing bathers or walkers cut off by incoming tides.


Captain Dave Eccles, RNLI Fleetwood Lifeboat Operations Manager said ‘’The introduction of the RNLI inshore lifeboat has ensured many more lives have been saved by the volunteer lifeboat crews, around our shores.’’

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Ken Harcombe, Fleetwood RNLI Press Officer 07970197195

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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