Our lifeboat fleet
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 (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.
Inshore lifeboats (ILBs) usually operate closer to shore, in shallower water, near cliffs, rocks and even in caves.
We also have inshore rescue hovercraft for areas that are inaccessible to conventional RNLI lifeboats such as mud flats and river estuaries.
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.
Meeting the cost of RNLI lifeboats
As a charity, we rely on generous legacies and donations to fund our lifeboats. But right now, our income is falling during one of the toughest times the world has ever faced.
The health crisis has hit our income hard. Lockdown halted the fundraising events we rely on to power our lifesaving service. Yet our lifeboat crews have never stopped being on call 24/7, ready and willing to save lives. They still need, above all, the most reliable, the most advanced and the fastest RNLI lifeboats. Seconds can mean the difference between life and death.
Donate to our urgent appeal and you can help them weather the storm. Your gift to the RNLI, no matter how much, will make a lifesaving difference. Not only to the people we rescue and their loved ones, but to the crew and their families too.