The RNLI celebrates the 60 years lifesaving anniversary of its inshore lifeboats
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.
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.
Blackpool RNLI lifeboat station has had their inshore lifeboats saving lives at sea since 1965 when the first one arrived at the station. The volunteer crew at the station has gone on to launch 2,524 times, save 308 lives and aided 602 people. There are three current inshore lifeboats, the Atlantic 85 William and Eleanor together with two D Class, Phyllis Rowan and Blackpool Endeavour
David Warburton, Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Blackpool, said:
‘Our three Blackpool lifeboats have enabled our volunteer crew to reach areas close to shore, the seawalls and the piers 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.
‘They are a part of our community and suit the demands of the rescues we attend, and with their unique features and capabilities has made a huge difference to the efficiency and effectiveness of our volunteer 24/7 search and rescue service.
‘Our lifeboats have aided many people in difficult situations, whether that’s people being cut off by the tide, boats in trouble or water users in need of our help.’
Colin Lowe, volunteer helm at Blackpool RNLI lifeboat station:
‘In August 2022, we launched one of our D class lifeboats. The fantastic design of the lifeboat allowed us to get close to the seawall and rescue a man close to drowning, any delay would have had tragic consequences.’
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.
1. Both D class lifeboats in operation Blackpool returning to shore after response (credit RNLI)
2. Atlantic 85 departing on response Blackpool (credit LB Photography)
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.
Atlantic 85 lifeboat
· The current generation of B class lifeboat is called the Atlantic 85 – named after the Atlantic College in Wales where these rigid inflatable lifeboats (RIBs) were first developed. 85 represents its length – nearly 8.5m. The lifeboat is both day and night capable and can operate in weather up to a Beaufort Force 7.
· There have been three generations of B class lifeboat. The first one was the Atlantic 21, the first RIB to join the RNLI fleet. It served from 1972 until 2008.
· The Atlantic 21 was then replaced by the Atlantic 75, which was in service from 1993 until 2022. It has now been replaced by the Atlantic 85, which was introduced to the fleet in 2005.
· The introduction of the first rigid inflatable lifeboat (RIB) – the Atlantic 21 – into the RNLI fleet back in 1972 revolutionised lifesaving at sea.
· The speed, manoeuvrability, agility and versatility of these RIBs dramatically improved the efficiency and effectiveness of our search and rescue service. All three generations of our Atlantic lifeboats have helped us to save thousands of lives at sea
· When it comes to responding to a lifesaving task, the Atlantic 85 lifeboat is one of the fastest in the fleet; her top speed is 35 knots powered by two 115hp 4-stroke engines.
· 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.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Steve Fitzgerald Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, RNLI Blackpool on [email protected] / 07308 255949 or Claire Elshaw, Regional Media Officer on [email protected] / 07468353082
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.
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