Waveney-class lifeboat

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Larne lifeboat (3) - geograph.org.uk - 635530.jpg
Larne Lifeboat RNLB William and Jane (ON 1079) in October 1997
Class overview
Operators: Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Preceded by: Rother, Solent
Succeeded by: Arun
Built: 1964–1982
In service: 1964–1999
Completed: 22
Retired: 22
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Type: motor lifeboat
Displacement: 18–19 tons
Length: 44 ft 10 in (13.67 m)
Beam: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
Draught: 4 ft 2 in (1.27 m)
Propulsion: Two diesel engines (various models)
Speed: 15.4 knots (17.7 mph)
Range: 190 nautical miles (350 km)
Crew: 5

The Waveney-class lifeboat was the first class of lifeboats operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) capable of operating at speeds in excess of 10 knots (12 mph). [1] Based on an American design, 22 saw operational service between 1964 and 1999 at the RNLI's stations around the coast of the United Kingdom and Ireland. After being superseded by faster boats in the 1990s, many were sold for further use with lifeboat services abroad, notably in Australia and New Zealand.

A rescue lifeboat is a boat rescue craft which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crew and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine. Lifeboats may be rigid, inflatable or rigid-inflatable combination hulled vessels.

Royal National Lifeboat Institution Maritime rescue organisation in the UK, Ireland, Channel Island and Isle of Man

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on some inland waterways. There are numerous other lifeboat services operating in the same area.

Knot (unit) unit of speed

The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour, exactly 1.852 km/h. The ISO standard symbol for the knot is kn. The same symbol is preferred by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); kt is also common, especially in aviation where it is the form recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The knot is a non-SI unit. Worldwide, the knot is used in meteorology, and in maritime and air navigation—for example, a vessel travelling at 1 knot along a meridian travels approximately one minute of geographic latitude in one hour.


The class name comes from the River Waveney which discharges into the North Sea at Great Yarmouth.

River Waveney river in East Anglia, United Kingdom

The Waveney is a river which forms the boundary between Suffolk and Norfolk, England, for much of its length within the Broads.

North Sea marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean

The North Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. An epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the ocean through the English Channel in the south and the Norwegian Sea in the north. It is more than 970 kilometres (600 mi) long and 580 kilometres (360 mi) wide, with an area of 570,000 square kilometres (220,000 sq mi).

Great Yarmouth town in Norfolk, UK

Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as Yarmouth, is a seaside town in Norfolk, England. It straddles the narrow mouth of the River Yare, approximately 20 miles (30 km) east of Norwich. It had an estimated population of 38,693 at the 2011 Census, making it the most third populous place in Norfolk.


In the 1960s the RNLI's fleet consisted of motor lifeboats of limited speed due to the shape of their hulls. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) had developed a 44-foot motor lifeboat which planed across the surface of the water, the consequence of which is a reduced wetted surface area to the hull, and therefore a much higher speed. [2] One was built for the RNLI by the USCG in Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, Maryland, [3] and this was put through extensive trials and proved capable of operating in restricted spaces, even though the propellers lacked the usual protection afforded to lifeboats. [2]

United States Coast Guard Coastal defense and law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country's seven uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set. It operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the U.S. Department of the Navy by the U.S. President at any time, or by the U.S. Congress during times of war. This has happened twice: in 1917, during World War I, and in 1941, during World War II.

44-foot motor lifeboat

The 44-foot motor lifeboat was the standard workhorse of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) rescue boat fleet. The 44′ MLB has been replaced by the 47′ MLB. The boats are powered by twin diesel engines, that each power a separate propeller. The propellers are protected by the hull, to help prevent them being damaged if the boat runs aground. The boats have air-tight compartments forward and aft of the steering station. The aft compartment is designed to hold litters to strap in injured people, while the forward compartment hold uninjured rescues.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

The prototype was never given a name although the crews nicknamed it "The Yank". [2] It entered trials in 1964 but the first production boats did not start to emerge until 1967. After six had been placed in service there was a hiatus which lasted until 1974 when production was restarted, and then continued through until 1982 by which time 22 were in service. The entire fleet was replaced between 1996 and 1999 as new Trent - and Severn-class lifeboats came into service, but many were sold for further use as lifeboats or pilot boats. [4]

<i>Trent</i>-class lifeboat

The Trent-class lifeboat is an all-weather lifeboat operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) from 30 stations around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland to provide coverage up to 50 miles (80 km) out to sea. Introduced to service in 1994, the class is named after the River Trent, the second longest river wholly in England.

Severn-class lifeboat

At 17 metres 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.

The boats launched in 1967 and 1968 were built by Brooke Marine at Lowestoft and those in 1974/5 by Groves and Gutterdige in Cowes. The 1976/7 batch came from Bideford Ship Yard and the last three from Fairey Marine in Cowes. [3]

Brooke Marine was a Lowestoft-based shipbuilding firm. The company constructed boats and small ships for civilian and commercial use, as well as minor warships for the Royal Navy, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Australian Navy, Kenya Navy and United States Navy.

Lowestoft town in Suffolk, England

Lowestoft is an English town and civil parish in the county of Suffolk. The town, on the North Sea coast, is the most easterly settlement of the United Kingdom. It is 110 miles (177 km) north-east of London, 38 miles (61 km) north-east of Ipswich and 22 miles (35 km) south-east of Norwich. It lies on the edge of The Broads system and is the major settlement in the district of East Suffolk, with a population of 71,010 in 2011. Some of the earliest evidence of settlement in Britain has been found here. As a port town it developed out of the fishing industry and as a traditional seaside resort. It has wide, sandy beaches, two piers and other attractions. While its fisheries have declined, oil and gas exploitation in the southern North Sea in the 1960s added to its development, as a base for the industry alongside nearby Great Yarmouth. This role has declined, but the town has begun to develop as an Eastern England centre of the renewable energy industry.

Cowes town on the Isle of Wight, England

Cowes is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina, facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.

Two 50-foot (15 m) long versions were built as the first of a proposed fleet of Thames-class lifeboats but the class was cancelled in favour of an Arunclass with a different hull shape and improved crew facilities. [2]

The Thames-class lifeboat was operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) from its stations around the coasts of the United Kingdom between 1974 and 1997. Six were ordered but only two completed; they have both been sold on to other users.

<i>Arun</i>-class lifeboat

The Arun-class lifeboat was a fast all-weather lifeboat designed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for service at its stations around the coasts of the United Kingdom and Ireland. They were operated by the RNLI between 1971 and 2008. Many have been sold to see further service in the lifeboat and coastguard services of other countries.


The Waveney-class lifeboat at Dunmore East lifeboat was kept on a mooring. Dunmore East lifeboat (2) - geograph.org.uk - 1059479.jpg
The Waveney-class lifeboat at Dunmore East lifeboat was kept on a mooring.

The steel hull is 44 feet 10 inches (13.67 m) long and 12 feet 8 inches (3.86 m) wide, drawing 4 feet 2 inches (1.27 m) of water. The hull is divided into seven watertight compartments including two survivor compartments and a crew space. The coxswain operates the boat from an open wheelhouse. Powered by a pair of diesel engines, it has an operating radius of 95 nautical mile s (176 km). [1]

The prototype was built with twin 200 brake horsepower (150 kW) Cummins V-6 engines but in 1973 was upgraded to 250 bhp (190 kW) Ford Mermaid 595T 6-cylinder engines. The first batch of production boats were initially built with pairs of 215 bhp (160 kW) Cummins V-6 engines. All these, including the by then re-engined prototype were fitted in the early 1980s with 203 bhp (151 kW) Caterpillar D3208 V-8 engines. The Groves & Guttridge built boats of 1974/5 had more powerful 260 bhp (190 kW) General Motors V-8 engines which they retained throughout their service life. The four boats of the 1976/7 Bideford Ship Yard build were originally fitted with 250 bhp Ford Mermaid 595T 6-cylinder engines but these were changed within five years for 250 bhp Caterpillar D3208T V-8 engines as had by then been fitted to the three final boats. [3]

RNLI fleet

ON [lower-alpha 1] Op. No. [lower-alpha 2] NameBuiltIn servicePrincipal StationsFurther use [4]
44-00119641964–1996 Falmouth [5] Preserved at Chatham Historic Dockyard
100144-002John F. Kennedy19661967–1996 Dun Laoghaire To Brixham Dive and Charters? Brixham 2018, named FORTITUDE
100244-003Khami19671967–1997 Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Sold to Australia
100344-004Faithful Forrester19671967–1997 Dover Sold to Australia
100444-005Margaret Graham19671967–1988
Pilot boat St Hilda of Whitby at Whitby
100544-006Arthur and Blanche Harris19681968–1974
Barry Dock
Sold to Australia
100644-007Connel Elizabeth Cargill19671968–1985
Relief fleet
Sold to Australia
102644-008Eric Seal (Civil Service No. 36)19741974–1996 Eyemouth Sold to Namibia
102744-009Helen Turnbull19741974–1997 Sheerness Pleasure boat Badger at Douglas
102844-010Thomas Forehead and Mary Rowse II19741974–1987
Fowey [6]
Sold to New Zealand
102944-011Augustine Courtauld19741974–1983
Relief fleet
Sold to Australia
103344-012The White Rose of Yorkshire [7] 19741974–1988
Sold to Canada
103444-013Thomas James King19751975–1997 St Helier Pilot boat Northesk at Montrose
103544-014St Patrick19751975–1996 Dunmore East Sold to Australia
103644-015Lady of Lancashire19751976–1989
Dun Laoghaire
Pilot boat St Boisil at Berwick-on-Tweed
104244-016Ralph and Joy Swann19761976–1990
Trip boat West Swann at Port Howard
104344-017The Nelsons of Donaghadee19761976–1997 Sunderland Sold to New Zealand
104444-018The Scout19771977–1997 Hartlepool Sold to Uruguay
104544-019Louis Marchesi of Round Table19771977–1985
Relief fleet
Sold to New Zealand [8]
106044-020John Fison19801980–1996 Harwich Sold to New Zealand
106544-021Barham19801980–1999 Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Pleasure boat Legend at Auckland
107944-022The William and Jane19821982–1998 Blyth Sold to Kaikoura Coastguard, New Zealand. Sold 2005 Now in private service. Named "Gryphon" used for cruising
  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.

Other fleets


Name [4] RNLI ONBuiltSoldStation
P&O Nedlloyd Rawalpindi100619671999 Mosman, New South Wales
P&O Nedlloyd Strathaird102919741999 Horseshoe Bay, New South Wales
P&O Nedlloyd Strahallan100519681999 Bayview, New South Wales
P&O Nedlloyd Stratheden100219671999 Brighton le Sands, New South Wales
P&O Nedlloyd Strathmore100319671999 Narooma, New South Wales
P&O Nedlloyd Strathnaver103519751999 Batemans Bay, New South Wales

New Zealand

Name [4] RNLI ONBuiltSoldStationComments
Hamilton Rotary Rescue106019801999 Raglan Now at Nelson
John Barton Acland Rescue107919822000Now cruiser Gryphon
Nicholsons Rescue/Trust Porinua Rescue104319761998 Mana
P&O Nedlloyd Rescue104519771999Now a houseboat at Whangarei
Westgate Rescue102819741999 Taranaki


Name [4] RNLI ONBuiltSoldStationComments
1a 001103319741999Roberts Bank, Vancouver, Canada
Ades 16 14-016104419771997 Puerto del Buceo, Uruguay
Spirit of Standard Bank102619741999 Walvis Bay, Namibia Moved to Luderitz in 2005

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Oakley-class lifeboat

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<i>Brede</i>-class lifeboat

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<i>Watson</i>-class lifeboat

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  1. 1 2 Wake-Walker, Edward; Deane, Heather; Purches, Georgette (1989). Lifeboat! Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 41. ISBN   0-7110-1835-9.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Kipling, Ray; Kipling, Susannah (2006). Never Turn Back. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 83–85. ISBN   0-7509-4307-6.
  3. 1 2 3 Lawford, Clive. "RNLI (Waveney Class)". Clive Lawford. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 26–29.
  5. Morris, Jeff (2002). The History of the Falmouth Lifeboats (2nd ed.). Coventry: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 18–19.
  6. Leach, Nicholas (2002). Fowey Lifeboats. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. pp. 75–93. ISBN   0-7524-2378-9.
  7. Whitby Lifeboat: The White Rose of Yorkshire
  8. Salsbury, Alan (2010). A History of the Exmouth Lifeboats. Wellington, Somerset: Halsgrove. pp. 121–128. ISBN   978-0-85704-073-2.