Donate now

Scarborough RNLI celebrates the 60th anniversary of the inshore lifeboat

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 nationally 30,778* lives across 60 years.

Martin Fish

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.

Scarborough RNLI’s D-class has been saving lives at sea since April 1966 when it permanently arrived at the station. Since the D-class arrived in Scarborough 57 years ago, it has gone on to launch 624 times, save 111 lives and aid 329 people.

The current D class, John Wesley Hillard IV, has been in service since 9 October 2021. It was paid for by Gay and Peter Hartley's Hillards Charitable Trust, costing £89,000 at the time.

John Wesley Hillard founded a family grocery business that traded 1885-1987, employing over 7,500 people in 40 supermarkets including one in Scarborough. Hillards ceased trading in 1987, with a share of the sale proceeds setting up the Trust.

Roger Buxton, Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Scarborough RNLI, said: 'Scarborough RNLI's John Wesley Hillard IV has 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.

'John Wesley Hillard IV has aided many people in difficult situations and is a part of our community. It suits the demands of the rescues we attend, whether that’s people being cut off by the tide, boats in trouble or water users in need of our help. With its unique features and capabilities, it has made a huge difference to the efficiency and effectiveness of our 24/7 search and rescue service.'

Rob Gaunt, Helm at Scarborough RNLI lifeboat station, said: ‘A rescue that springs to my mind was a few years ago. The inshore lifeboat was tasked with reports of a little boy missing in the sea. After conducting various search patterns, we located Ravi after he had been in the water for about 45mins. Luckily for us, Ravi had been watching Saving Lives at Sea and was well-versed in the float-to-live campaign. He used these techniques to stay afloat until we located him.’

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 the charity's inshore lifeboats, please 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 three hours at sea.

As an inflatable inshore lifeboat, the D class is designed to operate close to shore in shallower water. Although the 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.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact: [email protected]

Martin Fish

Martin Fish

Martin Fish

Erik Woolcott

Erik Woolcott

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.