Trent class lifeboat

The Trent class was our first all-weather lifeboat capable of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, setting the precedent for the RNLI fleet.

Barry Dock trent class lifeboat Inner Wheel II 14-29 at sea in rough conditions.

Photo:  Stephen Duncombe

Barry Dock Trent Class Lifeboat Inner Wheel II 14-29 at sea in rough conditions. 

We want our entire all-weather lifeboat to be capable of 25 knots by 2019.

Our Trent class lifeboat was developed in the early 1990s and introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1994.

She is designed to lie afloat, either at deep-water moorings or alongside at a berth.

Following a tradition of naming our modern lifeboats after rivers, the Trent is named after the River Trent – the third longest river in England.

Coxswain John Hill, Oban RNLI

Photo: RNLI / Moira Kerr

Coxswain John Hill, Oban RNLI
We’re a busy station and you get some really challenging conditions in and around the sea lochs. But the Trent deals with it all brilliantly. She’s fast and manoeuvrable enough to respond quickly, but powerful and large enough to take on big seas, tow big boats and carry lots of survivors.

The following lifeboat stations have a Trent class all-weather lifeboat:

Achill Island
Barry Dock
Broughty Ferry
Courtmacsherry Harbour
Dun Laoghaire
Great Yarmouth and Gorleston
Port St Mary

Alderney was the first station to receive a Trent class lifeboat, the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma 14-01 in 1994. Jim Moffat 14-38 was the last Trent to be built and has been stationed at Troon since 2004.

There are also eight Trent class lifeboats in our relief fleet.


The introduction of the Trent class all-weather lifeboat into the RNLI fleet in 1994 was a major milestone for our search and rescue service.

With a top speed of 25 knots, she was our fastest all-weather lifeboat of the time and the first to be able to cover 250 nautical miles.


The Trent is fast and agile enough to respond quickly in all kinds of weather and sea conditions.

She is ideal for offshore searches and rescues and has the power to tow large boats to safety.

The Trent lifeboat’s propellers and rudders lie in partial tunnels set into the hull. The tunnels, along with the two bilge keels, provide excellent protection from damage in shallow water.


Our Trent class lifeboat features one of the first hard chine (angled) hull designs for the RNLI. And the low line of her hull makes recovering casualties much easier.

As with all of our all-weather lifeboats, the Trent class is inherently self-righting. Should she capsize in severe weather, she will automatically right herself within a few seconds.

She has comprehensive medical equipment onboard including oxygen and full resuscitation kit, Entonox for pain relief, large responder bag and three different stretchers.

Efficiency and effectiveness

The Trent’s engine room is aft (at the stern of the boat) and space limitations led to a novel engine layout.

One of the engines is turned around, driving the propeller in a conventional way, while the other works through a V drive.

The Trent lifeboat carries a small XP boat, which is an inflatable daughter boat with a 5hp outboard engine capable of 6 knots. This allows the crew to access areas the Trent cannot reach.

The Trent also carries a portable salvage pump in a watertight container which can be taken onboard boats taking on water to try and save them from sinking.

The last Trent class lifeboat was built in 2003 and the lifeboats now undergo a regular condition-based maintenance regime.

Illustration of the RNLI Trent class all-weather lifeboat

Lifeboat category:

Year introduced to the RNLI fleet:

Last built:

Launch type:


Survivor capacity:
Self-righting – 20
Non self-righting – 73

Maximum speed:
25 knots

Range / endurance:
250 nautical miles


Beam / width:

Draught / depth:

Displacement / weight:
28 tonnes (maximum)

Fuel capacity:
4,180 litres

2 x MAN LE2840 18 litre V10 turbocharged and intercooled 848hp diesel engines, propulsion via ZF190 gearboxes, shafts and propellers

Hull – epoxy fibre-reinforced composite (FRC) with 100mm thick foam-cored sandwich.
Deck and superstructure – 25mm foam-cored sandwich.

Number in fleet:
Currently 36 in total, 30 at stations and 6 in repair

All lifeboats have a unique identification number.
The first part indicates the class. Trent class lifeboats start with 14 because they are just over 14m in length.
The numbers after the dash refer to the build number. So the first Trent built was given the number 14-01.
A build number with two digits indicates a hull constructed of fibre-reinforced composite (FRC). Three digits indicate a hull constructed of aluminium.

Communications and navigation

  • VHF (very high frequency) and MF (medium frequency) radio with digital selective calling (DSC)
  • VHF direction finder (DF)
  • global positioning system (GPS) with electronic chart system
  • radar.
Last updated November 2022

Watch the Trent lifeboat in action