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Three lifeboat engineers watch a Shannon class being lowered into the water by a crane

Building our lifeboats

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Discover how the RNLI builds and maintains its lifesaving fleet.

Saving lives requires craft that can tackle all the different challenges the sea throws at our lifesavers. Building and maintaining our lifeboat fleet is a vital part of our lifesaving service. Skilled technicians, engineers, mechanics and boatbuilders work 365 days a year to make sure our brave volunteers have the lifeboats they need to save lives at sea.

To ensure the vessels meet the requirements needed for our crews, we build most of our lifeboats in house at our factories in Poole and Cowes. And it’s all funded by generous support from people like you.

The lifeboat fleet

160 All-weather lifeboats

281 Inshore lifeboats

7 Hovercrafts

View of Shannon class lifeboats being built at the All-weather Lifeboat Centre

RNLI/Nathan Williams

All weather lifeboat centre

The All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole is where we build the Shannon class lifeboat and maintain the other all-weather lifeboats in our fleet. Teams of engineers and boatbuilders work tirelessly to ensure our all-weather lifeboats are ready to launch into the roughest conditions to save lives.

Recently built D class lifeboat RIBs on the floor of the Inshore Lifeboat Centre

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Inshore lifeboat centre

The Inshore Lifeboat Centre in Cowes is where we build and maintain our inshore lifeboat fleet – the workhorses of the RNLI. A lifeboat is completed at the facility every 59 hours and 50 new boats are built every year.

Hoylake shore crew wash down their Shannon class lifeboat

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Coastal maintenance

Keeping our lifeboats and lifesaving equipment ready to save lives is the job of our coastal maintenance team. Travelling across the UK and Ireland, they work hard to keep our fleet ready to launch to the rescue.

Image of the letters and numbers on the side of a Launch A Memory lifeboat

Launch a Memory

Celebrate the life of a loved one by adding their name to the side of a Shannon class lifeboat. So, when the lifeboat crew launches, your loved one’s memory will be powering them to the rescue.
RNLI/Nathan Williams

Latest lifeboat launches

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