Take a tour of the RNLI's first life-extended Severn

Watch a virtual tour to see what has been upgraded and rebuilt on the RNLI’s prototype.

RNLI Severn Life Extension Programme prototype lifeboat being launched

Photo: RNLI

Earlier this month, the RNLI launched the first Severn class lifeboat to receive its life extension to continue to save lives for generations to come. The launch marked an important milestone as we move forwards to bringing years of planning and design to life.

Now that the prototype has launched, the pace of progress aboard has not slowed. Completion of the fit-out process is near and will soon be followed by the commissioning and powering up of systems for the first time. This will be followed by extensive trials going well into 2023, where we will see volunteers and staff from various lifeboat stations (that have a Severn) travel to Poole to participate in the operational trials.

While it is still far from being ready to enter service, we are excited to share behind-the-scenes footage taken before the launch that shares more detail about what has been upgraded and what will make this boat fit for the future.

Head of Production, John Deas, says: ‘We know that boats are not built overnight and appreciate the patience of everybody involved and the dedication from our project team to get our assets ready for action. The project team have overcome obstacles and challenges as we launched the Severn Life Extension Programme just before the pandemic hit and are still seeing supply challenges, which are causing significant delays to the scheduled production plans. Alongside committing a large amount of resource to the Severn Life Extension Programme, staff at the ALC continue to repair and refit all-weather assets and build four new Shannons a year, for example. Without the dedication of all teams involved we couldn’t have made it to where we are now.

‘This is a significant milestone in RNLI history, and we are extremely grateful for everybody who has donated to the Spring Appeal in 2020 and our donors who have gifted the RNLI with funds to take some of our oldest but largest hulls into the future to save even more lives.’

Watch the video below to see the improvements we’re making and a closer look at just some of the work that is going onboard ON1201.

We will be taking any lessons learned from the prototype throughout the year to progress further with the second SLEP boat to achieve its life extension and upgrade.

Currently, the second boat (ON1242) has now been stripped out and is being prepared for the fit-out work to start. Thank you for taking the time to catch up on recent SLEP progress. We will continue to share updates on this exciting project as it progresses into the commissioning and trials phase.