The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers’ Science and Technology Award

The RNLI’s Engineering and Supply Department has been recognised for their outstanding achievements in the use of glass fibre.

The RNLI’s Principal Naval Architect, Holly Phillips, and Business Development Manager, John McCallion, at the Worshipful Glass Sellers' Science and Technology Award ceremony along with RNLI crew members, Alistair Groves and Callum MacLeod.

Photo: Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London

The RNLI’s Principal Naval Architect, Holly Phillips, and Business Development Manager, John McCallion, at the Worshipful Glass Sellers' Science and Technology Award ceremony along with RNLI crew members, Alistair Groves and Callum MacLeod.

The RNLI’s Engineering and Supply Department has won a prestigious award in recognition of their outstanding achievements in utilising the qualities of glass fibre to improve maritime safety.

The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers’ Science and Technology Award is awarded periodically in recognition of significant advancements in the science or technology of glass. 

The award was presented at the Worshipful Company of Glass Seller’s annual banquet at the Mansion House in London. The RNLI’s Principal Naval Architect, Holly Phillips, and Business Development Manager, John McCallion, attended the ceremony along with RNLI crew members, Alistair Groves and Callum MacLeod. 

Why did the RNLI win the award?

The Engineering and Supply Team have used glass as a construction material of many RNLI assets and equipment including all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon launch a recovery system and the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboats. 

  • All-weather lifeboats: All-weather lifeboat hulls, decks and wheelhouses are made from a strong, lightweight epoxy resin film infused glass for extra strength
  • Shannon launch and recovery system: The cab of the Shannon launch and recovery system is manufactured with glass, with watertight doors and hatches. It is designed to withstand a significant head of water pressure
  • Atlantic 85 lifeboat: During the development of the Atlantic 85 lifeboats, the outer skin was changed from carbon to glass, which improves the lifeboat’s robustness when operating off trailers and close to the seabed. 

The Engineering and Supply Team carry out ongoing research and development, to ensure the lifeboat fleet continues to meet our operational challenges. 

The RNLI’s designs have been thoroughly tested through a range of methods and are already in operational use or have been proven to be technically viable. 

Congratulations to everyone involved

Holly Phillips says: ‘Everyone involved in the design and construction of lifeboats should be proud to be recognised for how the RNLI uses glass as a construction material.’ 

‘Crews who operate these boats, often in extreme conditions, should be proud that we have collectively been recognised with such a prestigious award.’

The RNLI is in good company as the Worshipful Company of Glass Seller’s Science and Technology award winners. Previous winners were Joe Vittoria, the man who build the extraordinary Mirabella V, the world’s largest glass fibre yacht, and GKN Aerospace who developed advanced aircraft sensors made from glass fibres which improved aircraft safety.  

Many congratulations to everyone in the Engineering and Supply Department, and to the teams who support them. This award is recognition that the RNLI’s design approach and innovative use of materials is helping to improve maritime safety for everyone. 

Neil Chaplin
RNLI Head of Asset Management.