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60 years of saving lives: RNLI celebrates anniversary of its inshore lifeboats

Lifeboats News Release

Introduced in 1963, the inshore lifeboat continues to be an invaluable asset in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) fleet as new figures show the charity’s Inshore lifeboats have saved 30,778* lives across 60 years.

RNLI/St Davids

D Class Marian and Alan Clayton

The inshore lifeboat has enabled the charity’s volunteer crews to carry out their lifesaving work closer to shore, in areas inaccessible to other lifeboats in the fleet. Designed to be quick and manoeuvrable, inshore lifeboats can operate in shallower water, near cliffs and rocks meaning crews can get as close as possible to those in trouble.

St Davids RNLI first received a D Class inshore lifeboat in 1997 and they have been saving lives at sea ever since. The inshore lifeboats have launched 330 times, saved 23 lives and aided 147 people. A special service was held at St Davids Cathedral in 2019 at which the current D Class lifeboat Marian and Alan Clayton was officially named and accepted into the lifesaving fleet. The inshore lifeboat was funded by loyal RNLI supporter Mr Keith Clayton in honour of his late parents, who had long-standing ties with the charity.

Our inshore lifeboats have been involved in several notable rescues, including the 2008 rescue of three young girls trapped on rocks at Caerfai Bay. The rising spring tide and breaking waves made this a particularly difficult rescue and three of the crew had to enter the sea to assist. The girls were subsequently treated for hypothermia and a collective letter of thanks was received by the crew.

John Williams, Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at RNLI St Davids said:

‘D class inshore lifeboats have enabled our volunteer crew to reach areas close to shore, cliffs and rocks to rescue people in trouble. These fast and highly manoeuvrable lifesaving craft answered the need for a quicker and more agile response to rescues in areas of water that were more challenging to the larger and slower all-weather lifeboats.’

The RNLI builds and maintains most of its inshore lifeboats in house at their Inshore Lifeboat Centre in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. This allows the charity to have greater control over costs and quality ensuring they produce the best lifesaving asset for their crews and spend their supporters’ donations in the most efficient and effective way.

For more information about our Inshore Lifeboats, click here.

Notes to editors:

· *Statistics taken from 1963 – 2 May 2023. Includes lifesaving statistics from our Atlantic 85, D class and E class lifeboats, launches of our daughter boats from the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats and models of inshore lifeboats that are no longer part of the RNLI fleet.

D class

· With a top speed of 25 knots, the D class lifeboat can operate in both day and night with an endurance of 3 hours at sea.

· As an inflatable inshore lifeboat, the D class is designed to operate close to shore in shallower water. Although our smallest lifeboat, the D class saves more lives than any other class of lifeboat.

· The latest generation of D class lifeboats, known as the IB1 type, was introduced in 2003 with improved speed, manoeuvrability and equipment.

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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, in a normal year, 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.

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 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 by email.

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