E Class Lifeboats
E-08 speeding away from Chiswick Pier. Photo Credit: watchandshoot_lifeboats
The E class inshore lifeboat is the fastest in the RNLI fleet and was specially designed for London’s busy River Thames.
With its powerful tidal currents, submerged debris and heavy traffic, the River Thames can be incredibly dangerous for those on and by the water and the E class lifeboat was designed to handle these river conditions.
The class was introduced in 2002 to serve the tidal reach of the River Thames, which had not previously been covered by an RNLI rescue service.
There are currently three different versions of the E-class, described as the mark I, mark II and mark III.
E Class Facts
Introduced: 2002-2005 (MkI), 2011-2012 (MkII), 2019-present (MkIII)
Length: 9m (MkI), 10.5m (MkII)
Width: 2.94m (MkI), 2.9m without collar; 3.5m with collar (MkII)
Load: 3.86 tonnes
Launch Type: Afloat
Fuel Capacity: 520 litres (MkI), 500 Litres (MkII)
Crew: 3 (MkI) 4 (MkII) 4 (MkIII)
Range: 4 hours (MKI), 3 hours (MkII) at maxium speed
Mk1 – 2 x Steyr 246 marine diesel engines - 240hp each at 4,100rpm - with propulsion from Hamilton waterjets
Mk2 – 2 x Volvo D6 435 marine diesel engines - 435hp each, 3,300 rpm at 40 knots - with propulsion from Hamilton waterjets
The mark I boat was an off the shelf design built by Tiger Marine. It is made of an aluminium alloy with a closed cell polythene foam collar, and is powered by two Steyr marine diesel engines delivering 240 horsepower (180 kW) each at 4,100rpm and driving Hamilton waterjets.
This combination gives the boats a maximum speed of 33 knots (38 mph; 61 km/h) and the extreme maneuverability which is essential to enable crews to reach casualties in the fast flowing river.
The boat is 9 metres (30 ft) long, has a beam of 2.94 metres (9 ft 8 in), a draft of 0.64 metres (2 ft 1 in), a displacement of 3.86 tonnes (3.80 long tons; 4.25 short tons), and carries three crew. The maximum endurance at full speed is 4 hours.
Public Servant (Civil Service No.44)
Tower 2002 to 2005
Relief 2005 to 2012
Olivia Laura Deare
Relief 2002 to 2012
Chiswick 2002 to 2015
Ray and Audrey Lusty
Tower 2002 to 2012
Tower 2002 to 2018
Relief 2018 to date
Joan and Ken Bellamy
Chiswick 2015 to 2018
(1) Withdrawn from use and scrapped
(2) On display at Chatham Historic Dockyard
(3) In 2018, E-005 and E-006 were rebuilt into a single vessel at the Inshore Lifeboat Centre, Cowes. The rebuilt boat became E-005 Legacy
(4) The remains of E-006 were scrapped follow E-005 and E-006 being rebuilt into a single vessel
The mark II boat was designed by RNLI engineers, incorporating experience gained with the mark I boats, and built by Marine Specialised Technology in Liverpool.
It has a glass epoxy-resin composite hull with a detachable polyurethane covered solid closed-cell foam collar, and is powered by two Volvo marine diesel engines delivering 435 horsepower (324 kW) each at 3,300rpm and driving Hamilton waterjets.
This combination gives the boats an improved maximum speed of 40 knots (46 mph; 74 km/h). The boat is 10.5 metres (34 ft) long, has a beam of 2.9 metres (9 ft 6 in) without collar and 3.5 metres (11 ft) with collar, a draft of 0.7 metres (2 ft 4 in), a displacement of 5.4 tonnes (5.3 long tons; 6.0 short tons), and carries four crew. The maximum endurance at full speed is 3 hours.
Tower 2011 to date
Dougie and Donna B
Chiswick 2012 to date
Relief 2012 to date
Built by Delta RIBS, Stockport, Cheshire
Hearn Medicine Chest
Tower 2019 to date