Across the UK and Ireland, a fleet of over 400 lifeboats are waiting for the call to rescue. Powered by our brave volunteers and your support, these lifeboats have saved countless lives across the years. From large all-weather lifeboats to smaller inshore vessels, each has been designed and refined to be highly capable rescue craft.

RNLI lifeboats are divided into two categories: all-weather lifeboats and inshore lifeboats. The different classes of lifeboat within these categories mean we can reach people in all kinds of situations and locations.

The type of lifeboat a station has depends on geographical features, the kind of rescues the station is involved in and the cover provided by neighbouring lifeboat stations.

All-weather lifeboats

All-weather lifeboats (ALBs) are capable of high speed and can be operated safely in all weather conditions. They are inherently self-righting after a capsize and fitted with navigation, location and communication equipment. Big and bright, the sight of one of our all-weather lifeboats on the horizon has given hope to many.

The all-weather fleet currently consists of the Shannon, Severn, Trent, Tamar and Mersey class lifeboats.

Inshore lifeboats

Inshore lifeboats (ILBs) usually operate closer to shore, in shallower water, near cliffs, rocks and even in caves. They are designed to be quick and manoeuvrable, allowing our crews to get as close as possible to those in trouble.

The inshore lifeboat fleet consists of the B and D class lifeboats, as well as the E class lifeboats on the River Thames.

Hovercraft

We also have inshore rescue hovercraft for areas that are inaccessible to conventional RNLI lifeboats such as mud flats and river estuaries. The hovercraft allows us to fly across dangerous terrain, enabling our lifesavers to quickly get to those who need us most.

Hovercraft are on station at Hoylake, Hunstanton, Morecambe, and Southend lifeboat stations.

Powering our fleet

Our lifeboats couldn’t run without your support. Every launch is only possible thanks to donations from people like you.

RNLI lifeboats are always ready to save lives at sea thanks to the care and attention given to them by station mechanics and our maintenance teams out on the coast and at our all-weather and inshore lifeboat centres. When they require longer repairs or planned services, refits and modifications, they are temporarily replaced by the same class of lifeboat from our relief fleet.

Explore our lifeboats

More on the Shannon
Shannon class lifeboat
Our most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet.
More on the Shannon
More on the Tamar
Tamar class lifeboat
Fitted with pioneering crew safety features.
More on the Tamar
More on the Severn
Severn class lifeboat
The largest lifeboat in our fleet.
More on the Severn
More on the Trent
Trent class lifeboat
Our first all-weather lifeboat capable of 25 knots.
More on the Trent
More on the Mersey
Mersey class lifeboat
Our first fast carriage-launched lifeboat.
More on the Mersey
More on the D class
D class lifeboat
The workhorse of the RNLI with over 50 years' service.
More on the D class
More on the B class
B class lifeboat
One of the fastest in the fleet with a top speed of 35 knots.
More on the B class
More on the E class
E class lifeboat
Specially designed for London's busy River Thames.
More on the E class
More on the hovercraft
Rescue hovercraft
Ideal for mud flats, soft sand and shallow water.
More on the hovercraft
More on this boat
Inshore rescue boat
Reaches casualties in the surf, fast.
More on this boat