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Irish Lifeboats

Severn Class Lifeboats  

Developed in the early 1990s, the Severn class was introduced into the fleet in 1995 and is designed to lie afloat, either at deep-water moorings or at a berth. The severn class is currently the largest in the RNLI fleet. 

The Severn has a sheerline that sweeps down for ease of survivor recovery. She is inherently self-righting and should it be knocked over in extreme weather, it will automatically right itself within a few seconds.

Her propellers and rudders lie in partial tunnels set into the hull that, along with the two bilge keels, provide excellent protection from damage in shallow water.

In addition to her twin engines, the Severn is fitted with a hydraulic-powered bow thruster for improved manoeuvrability.

The Severn carries a small Y boat, which is an inflatable daughter boat complete with a 15hp outboard engine. This small craft can be launched with a crane and is used in moderate conditions to access areas where the lifeboat cannot reach.

Severn Class Facts  

Introduced: 1995 (Last built 2004)

Length: 17.3m

Width: 5.9m

Load: 42 tonnes

Launch Type: Afloat

Fuel Capacity: 5,600 litres

Crew: 7

Range: 250 nautical miles

Max Speed: 25 Knots

Engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3412 TA marine diesel; 1,250hp each at 2,300hp or 2 x MTU M94 Diesel Engine 1,600hp each at 2450rpm

O.N.

Op. No. 

Name

Year Built

 Service History

Notes

1179

17-01

Maurice and Joyce Hardy (1992–1995)

Peter and Marion Fulton (1998–2004)

1991

Trials 1991 to 1998

Training 1998 to 2004

(1)

1201

17-02

The Will

1995

Relief 1996 to 1997

Falmouth 1997 to 2001

Relief 2001 to date

(2)

1202

17-03

Albert Brown  

1995

Harwich 1996 to date


1203

17-04  

Spirit of Guernsey

1996

St Peter Port 1997 to date


1216

17-05

Pride of Humber

1996

Humber 1997 to date


1217

17-06

David Kirkaldy

1996

Aran Islands 06/06/97 to date 


1218

17-07

John and Margaret Doig

1996

Valentia 29/11/96 to date


1219

17-08

Helmut Schroeder of Dunlossit II

1996

Islay 1997 to date


1220

17-09

City of London II

1996

Dover 1997 to date


1221

17-10

Michael and Jane Vernon

1997

Lerwick 1997 to date


1229

17-11

The Whiteheads

1997

St Marys 1997 to date


1230

17-12

Edna Windsor

1998

Barra Island 1998 to date


1231

17-13

Margaret Forster

1998

Kirkwall 1998 to date


1232

17-14

Charles Lidbury  

1998

Aith 1998 to date


1235

17-15

Bryan and Gordon

1998

Ballyglass 14/08/98 to date


1236

17-16

Spirit of Derbyshire

1998

Stormness 1998 to date


1237

17-17

Fraser Flyer (Civil Service No. 43)

1999

Relief 1999 to date


1238

17-18

Tom Sanderson

1999

Stornoway 1999 to date


1241

17-19

Ernest and Mary Shaw

1999

Campbeltown 1999 to date


1242

17-20  

Spirit of Northumberland

1999

Tynemouth 1999 to 2021

(4)

1243

17-21

David and Elizabeth Acland

1999

Newhaven 1999 to date


1244

17-22

Myrte Maud

1999

Arranmore 22/01/00 to date


1247

17-23

Katie Hannon

2000

Portrush 15/06/00 to ??/01/08

(3)

1248

17-24

Bon Accord

2000

Aberdeen 2000 to date


1249

17-25

Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer)

2000

Yarmouth 2001 to date


1250

17-26

Henry Alston Hewat

2000

Mallaig 2001 to date


1254

17-27

Volunteer Spirit

2001

Relief 2001 to date


1255

17-28

Alec and Christina Dykes

2001

Torbay 2001 to date


1256

17-29

Richard Cox Scott

2001

Falmouth 2001 to date


1257

17-30 

William Gordon Burr

2001

Relief 2002 to 2008

Portrush 04/04/08 to date


1260

17-31

Roger and Joy Freeman

2002

Relief 2002 to date


1261

17-32

Ernest and Mable

2002

Weymouth 2002 to date


1262

17-33

Beth Sell

2002

Relief 2002 to date


1263

17-34

Osier

2002

Relief 2002 to 2021 

Tynemouth 2021 to date


1264

17-35

Sybil Mullen Glover

2003

Plymouth 2003 to date


1265

17-36

Ivan Ellen

2003

Penlee 2003 to date


1268

17-37

William Blannin 

2003

Buckie 2003 to date


1269

17-38

Daniel L Gibson

2003

Relief 2003 to date


1270

17-39

Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsay

2003

Tobermory 2003 to date


1271

17-40

Julian and Margaret Leonard

2003

Lochinver 2003 to date


1272

17-41

Christopher Pearce

2003

Holyhead 2003 to date


1273

17-42

The Taylors

2004

Thurso 2004 to date


1276

17-43

Donald & Barbara Broadhead

2004

Rosslare Harbour 09/07/04 to date


1277

17-44

Annette Hutton

2004

Castletownbere 12/08/04 to date


1278

17-45

The Duke of Kent

2005

Relief 2005 to date


1279

17-46

Margaret, Joan and Fred Nye

2004

Relief 2004 to date


Lifeboats highlighted in GREEN were based at Irish Lifeboat stations.

Notes

(1) Prototype Severn class. Sold for use as a work boat in 2005

(2) First Severn class to receive mid-life upgrade work (July 2019)

(3) Damaged beyond economic repair after grounding on Ratlin Island

(4) Withdrawn from service. To be refurbished as part of the Severn Life Extension Programme (SLEP)

O.N. is the RNLI's Official Number of the boat

Op.No. is the RNLI's Operational Number of the boat carried on the hull

Last Updated 14/07/21

Severn Life Extension Programme (SLEP)

The largest and most powerful class of lifeboat, the Severn entered service back in 1996 and there are currently 44 of these 42 tonne lifesaving vessels in the charity’s fleet. With an operational lifespan of 25 years, these amazing lifeboats are now approaching retirement age and are due to come off service soon.

However, the charity’s expert in-house engineering team has worked in partnership with academic and industry experts, establishing that the lifeboats’ hulls can continue operational service for another 25 years. Through a life extension upgrade, the Severn’s wheelhouse will be completely redesigned and a wide range of upgrades will be made, ensuring the vessels can operate safely and effectively for another 25 years.


As well as fitting the lifeboats out with more modern and sophisticated technology and systems, the upgraded Severns will have significant safety enhancements to ensure the RNLI’s volunteer crews are as safe as possible while out saving lives at sea in all weathers.


Nick Fenwick is Project Manager for the RNLI’s Severn life extension programme. He said: ‘From shock-mitigating seats for the crew, to new survivor space seating for casualties and a new daughter craft that can be launched quickly for rescuing casualties in shallow waters or close to rocks, the life extension upgrades will ensure our Severn class lifeboats are ready to save lives at sea for another 25 years.


‘The upgrades will bring the technology and systems onboard the Severn class lifeboats right up to date. A key upgrade will be the installation of the Systems and Information Management System, also known as SIMS.


‘Similar to the SIMS systems in our Tamar and Shannon class lifeboats, it is an electronic integrated bridge system that allows the crew to monitor, operate and control many of the lifeboat’s functions directly from their seats. These functions include the navigation and the mechanics of the lifeboat, such as the engines, bilge and electrics. This greatly increases our crews’ safety, reducing the need for them to walk around the lifeboat in the rough and challenging sea conditions they so often face.’


An allocation of six Severn class lifeboats will be upgraded initially, with the upgrades taking place at the RNLI’s All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset. Work is already underway on the first vessel to receive its life extension upgrade, with a relief fleet Severn being worked on now with the aim of undertaking sea trials at the end of the year.


The first five lifeboat stations due to receive a life extended Severn are Aberdeen, Kirkwall and Lerwick in Scotland, Tynemouth in the north east of England and Ballyglass in the Republic of Ireland. Aberdeen Lifeboat Station are due to receive the first upgraded Severn at the end of 2021.

The average anticipated cost of each life extension upgrade is £1.25M. This is significantly less than the cost of designing and building a brand-new class of lifeboat to replace the Severn. For context, a Shannon, which is significantly smaller and not as powerful as the Severn, costs £2.2M to build.

Since entering service back in 1996, Severn class lifeboats have launched over 16,500 times, going to the aid of over 22,500 people and saving over 900 lives.

Angus Watson, Engineering and Supply Director, said: ‘I am so excited to announce our plans to extend the operational life of our Severn class lifeboats.

‘Our Severns are often located in the more remote locations across the UK and Ireland, where the crews are often required to sail out longer distances in the most challenging sea conditions. Being the largest class of lifeboat, it is well-suited for locations where mass casualty rescues are more likely, and its highly elevated upper steering position and greater length are ideal when negotiating large waves in the roughest seas.


‘While the systems and technology on board the Severn class need upgrading, the lifeboat’s hull and structure is still ideally suited to the challenging conditions these lifeboats face today. So rather than spending significantly more money to roll out a brand new class of all-weather lifeboat, supplying stations with upgraded Severn class lifeboats that we know can meet the demands of these challenging stretches of coastline is a much more efficient use of charitable funds, while still ensuring that our volunteer crews have lifeboats absolutely fit for purpose for the next 25 years.’

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