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Severn-class lifeboat

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Title: Severn-class lifeboat  
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Severn-class lifeboat

RNLI Severn Class Lifeboat
Relief fleet Severn 'The Will' (ON 1201)
Class overview
Builders: Berthon Boat Co, Green Marine (Hull Moldings)
Operators: Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Preceded by: Arun
Cost: £2 million
Built: 1992–2005
In service: 1996–
Completed: 46
Active: 44
Retired: 2
General characteristics
Displacement: 40 t (39 long tons)
Length: 17 m (55 ft 9 in)
Beam: 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in)
Draught: 1.38 m (4 ft 6 in)
  • 2 × Caterpillar 3412 TA diesel engines, 1,250 hp (932 kW) each
  • UBW 195 V reserve-reduction gearbox 2.03:1 ratio
  • 5,500 litre (1,200 imperial gallons) fuel capacity
Speed: 25 knots (29 mph; 46 km/h)
Range: 250 nmi (460 km)
  • Self Righting 47
  • Non-Self Righting 185
Complement: 6

At 17 metres (55 ft 9 in) long, the Severn-class is the largest lifeboat operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Introduced to service in 1996, the class is named after the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain. They are stationed at 35 locations around the coasts of the United Kingdom and Ireland to provide coverage up to 50 miles (80 km) out to sea.


  • History 1
  • Description 2
  • Fleet 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In the 1980s the RNLI's fast Arun and Waveney all-weather lifeboats provided coverage 30 miles (48 km) out to sea, operating at up to 18 knots (33 km/h) to cover the distance in two hours in good weather. However, the RNLI felt that they needed the capability to extend their coverage to 50 miles (80 km) radius, which would require lifeboats with a top speed of 25 knots (46 km/h). This resulted in the 17-metre (56 ft) Severn and 14-metre (46 ft) Trent lifeboats.[1]

The prototype Severn was launched in 1991 and was named Maurice and Joyce Hardy. Trials started the following year and lasted until 1998.[2] In 1995, the boat was de-named. Problems were encountered during the trials with the "skegs" that protected the propellers, but were designed to protect the hull by breaking off if the boat hit rocks, as the first ones were too easily broken. Crashing through heavy seas at full speed caused damage to the hull, too.[3] It was transferred to training work when it carried operational number TL-02 and was named Peter and Marion Fulton, but was withdrawn in 2004. It was sold in 2005; in 2008 it was in use as a dive boat at Buckie, carrying the name Gemini Storm.[2]

The first production Severn was The Will. It had been built in 1995 by Berthon Boat Co (Builders of 21 of the 46 Severn Class Lifeboats) for Stornoway but had to undergo several modifications before it was fit for service. It was eventually placed in the relief fleet in 1996 and shown to many lifeboat stations where the class was expected to be deployed. It so impressed the crew at Falmouth that they pressed the RNLI to station it there until their own boat was built, and so it was stationed there from January 1997 until December 2001 when it was replaced by Richard Scott Cox.[4] In the mean time Tom Sanderson had been deployed at Stornoway in 1999. The Will returned to the relief fleet after its time at Falmouth and has continued in that role since. Construction of its sister boats continued until 2005.[2]


Severns are constructed of fibre reinforced composite material, and their hard chine semi-displacement hull is built so that it will stay afloat with two of its five compartments flooded. For added manoeuvrability, in addition to twin engines, the Severn also has a bow thruster fitted.[5] The propellers are enclosed so that the Severn can take ground without damaging them. A Y Class inflatable boat can be deployed by an on-board crane for use in shallow water or confined spaces.[6]

Severns have comprehensive electronics systems that include full MF and VHF DSC radio equipment, differential GPS navigator, an electronic chart system, VHF radio direction finder, radar and weather sensors. Provision for survivors includes comprehensive first aid equipment including stretchers, oxygen and Entonox. They carry a portable salvage pump in a water-tight container, and can also carry out pumping and fire-fighting tasks using the engine-driven general service pump.


ON[1] Op. No.[2] Name In service Principal station Comments
1179 17-01 Maurice and Joyce Hardy (1992–1995)
Un-named 1995–1998
Peter and Marion Fulton (1998–2004)
Training fleet (TL-02)
Sold in 2005. Now named Gemini Storm.
1201 17-02 The Will 1996–1997
Relief fleet
Relief fleet
1202 17-03 Albert Brown 1996– Harwich
1203 17-04 Spirit of Guernsey 1997– St Peter Port
1216 17-05 Pride of the Humber 1997– Humber
1217 17-06 David Kirkaldy 1997– Aran Islands
1218 17-07 John and Margaret Doig 1996– Valentia
1219 17-08 Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II 1997– Islay
1220 17-09 City of London II 1997– Dover
1221 17-10 Michael and Jane Vernon 1997– Lerwick
1229 17-11 The Whiteheads 1997– St Mary's
1230 17-12 Edna Windsor 1998– Barra Island
1231 17-13 Margaret Foster 1998– Kirkwall
1232 17-14 Charles Lidbury 1998– Aith
1235 17-15 Bryan and Gordon 1998– Ballyglass
1236 17-16 Violet Dorothy and Kathleen 1998– Stromness
1237 17-17 Fraser Flyer (Civil Service No. 43) 1999– Relief fleet
1238 17-18 Tom Sanderson 1999– Stornoway
1241 17-19 Ernest and Mary Shaw 1999– Campbeltown
1242 17-20 Spirit of Northumberland 1999– Tynemouth
1243 17-21 David and Elizabeth Acland 1999– Newhaven
1244 17-22 Myrtle Maud 2000– Arranmore
1247 17-23 Katie Hannan 2000–2008 Portrush Damaged beyond economic repair after grounding on Rathlin Island.[7]
1248 17-24 Bon Accord 2000– Aberdeen
1249 17-25 Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer) 2001– Yarmouth
1250 17-26 Henry Alston Hewat 2001– Mallaig
1254 17-27 Volunteer Spirit 2001– Relief fleet
1255 17-28 Alec and Christina Dykes 2001– Torbay
1256 17-29 Richard Cox Scott 2001– Falmouth
1257 17-30 William Gordon Burr 2002–2008
Relief fleet
1260 17-31 Roger and Joy Freeman 2002– Relief fleet
1261 17-32 Ernest and Mabel 2002– Weymouth
1262 17-33 Beth Sell 2002– Relief fleet
1263 17-34 Osier 2002– Relief fleet
1264 17-35 Sybil Mullen Glover 2003– Plymouth
1265 17-36 Ivan Ellen 2003– Penlee
1268 17-37 William Blannin 2003– Buckie
1269 17-38 Daniel L Gibson 2003– Relief fleet
1270 17-39 Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey 2003– Tobermory
1271 17-40 Julian and Margaret Leonard 2003– Lochinver
1272 17-41 Christopher Pearce 2003– Holyhead
1273 17-42 The Taylors 2004– Thurso
1276 17-43 Donald and Barbara Broadhead 2004– Rosslare Harbour
1277 17-44 Annette Hutton 2004– Castletownbere
1278 17-45 The Duke of Kent 2005– Relief fleet
1279 17-46 Margaret Joan and Fred Nye 2004– Relief fleet
  1. ^ ON is the RNLI's Official Number of the boat.
  2. ^ Op. No. is the RNLI's Operational Number of the boat carried on the hull.


  1. ^ Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 59–72.  
  2. ^ a b c Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 32–35. 
  3. ^ Kipling, Ray; Kipling, Susannah (2006). Never Turn Back. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 92–93.  
  4. ^ Morris, Jeff (2002). The History of the Falmouth Lifeboats (2nd ed.). Coventry: Lifeboat Enthusiast's Society. pp. 30–40. 
  5. ^ "Severn Class Lifeboat Information". RNLI. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 110–111.  
  7. ^ "Permanent replacement lifeboat for Portrush". Portrush Lifeboat Station. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 

External links

  • RNLI Fleet:Severn Class
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