Tyne class lifeboat

The Tyne class all-weather lifeboat was our first fast slipway-launched lifeboat.

She has a compact superstructure and her steel hull and fully protected propellers take into account the stresses and strains of slipway launching. She can also lie afloat, either at deep-water moorings or alongside at a berth.

The Tyne was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1982 and the last Tyne class lifeboat was built in 1990. She is named after ex-Coxswain at Tynemouth, Paulin Denham Christie, who was a big part of the fast slipway boat project.

We have been replacing our Tyne class lifeboats with Tamar class lifeboats and now the Shannon as part of our plans for a faster and more efficient 25-knot all-weather lifeboat fleet.

Lifesaving features


With a top speed of 18 knots, the Tyne was our fastest all-weather lifeboat to be launched via a slipway when she was introduced to the fleet in 1982.

Slipways allow our crews to launch from cliffs and raised manmade objects such as piers.


The propellers and rudders of our Tyne class lifeboat lie in partial tunnels set into the hull. The tunnels, along with the main and two bilge keels, provide excellent protection from damage in shallow water or through slipway operations.

She is ideal for offshore searches and rescue in all kinds of weather and sea conditions and has the power to tow large boats to safety.


As with all of our all-weather lifeboats, the Tyne class is inherently self-righting. Should she capsize in severe weather, she will right herself aided by twin automatically-inflating bags on the aft cabin roof.

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

Efficiency and effectiveness

The Tyne carries a small X boat, which is an inflatable unpowered daughter boat. The X boat is manually launched and allows the crew to row to areas the Tyne cannot reach.

She features a low-profile wheelhouse and a separate cabin aft of the upper steering position. And her mast and aerials can be lowered when working with helicopters and so that she can fit into a boathouse.

Technical specifications

Illustration of the RNLI Tyne class all-weather lifeboat

Lifeboat category:

Year introduced to the RNLI fleet:

Last built:

Launch type:
Slipway or afloat


Survivor capacity:
Self-righting – 37
Non self-righting – 108

Maximum speed:
18 knots

Range / endurance:
240 nautical miles


Beam / width:

Draught / depth:

Displacement / weight:
27 tonnes (maximum)

Fuel capacity:
2,180 litres

2 x GM6V92 marine diesel engines; 425hp each at 2,300rpm
2 x GM6V92 DDec marine diesel engines; 525hp each at 2,300rpm

Steering positions:
2 – an elevated upper steering position for 360º views and one inside the wheelhouse

Hull – corten steel
Superstructure – aluminium.

Number in fleet:
4 at stations and 2 in the relief fleet

All lifeboats have a unique identification number.
The first part indicates the class. Tyne class lifeboats start with 47 because they are 47 feet (14.3m) in length.
The numbers after the dash refer to the build number. So the first Tyne built was given the number 47-001.
A build number with three digits indicates a hull constructed of aluminium. Two digits indicate a hull constructed of fibre-reinforced composite (FRC).

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.


The following lifeboat station has a Tyne class all-weather lifeboat:


There are also two Tyne class lifeboats in our relief fleet.

Watch the Tyne lifeboat in action