Our Lifeboats


First introduced in 2005, there are 23 boats in the fleet with 4 relief boats available. The Tamar class lifeboat is the largest slipway launched ALB operated by the RNLI.

ON1287 ‘Lester’ was the 7th boat built. She deployed to Cromer in January 2008 and had her first service call on 14 January 2008.

The lifeboats name Lester has been created by using parts of the surnames of Derek Clifton Lethern and William Foster, both of whom had been long-term supporters and members of the RNLI. Mr Lethern left £1.23m to the RNLI when he died in 1992 and asked for a new lifeboat to be bought in memory of him and his friend Mr Foster.

As with all the Tamar class she is fitted with an integrated electronic Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) so that the crew can monitor, operate and control many of the boat’s systems directly from their shock-mitigating seats, which improve their safety. During 2012 she was fitted with a stand-alone AIS (Automated Information System).

When our Tamar class lifeboat was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 2005, she was the most sophisticated and safest lifeboat of the time. 

The Tamar is designed to be launched from a slipway – her mast and aerials can be lowered to fit inside a boathouse – and she can also lie afloat.

Technical Information

Lifeboat category: All-Weather

Year introduced to the RNLI fleet: 2005

Last built: 2013

Launch type: Slipway or afloat

Crew: 7

Survivor capacity: Self-righting - 44  /  Non self-righting - 118

Maximum speed: 25 knots

Range / Endurance: 250 nautical miles

Length: 16.3m

Beam / Width: 5.3m

Draught / Depth: 1.4m

Displacement / Weight: 32 tonnes (maximum)

Fuel capacity: 4,600 litres

Engines: 2 x caterpillar C18 marine diesel engines. 1,001hp each at 2,300rpm

Steering positions: 4-2 elevated upper steering positions for 360º views and 2 inside the wheelhouse

Construction: Hull – fibre-reinforced composite (FRC) with single-skin section below the chine and 100mm thick foam-cored FRC sandwich above. Deck and superstructure – 25mm foam-cored FRC sandwich.

Number in fleet: 23 at stations and 4 in the relief fleet

Identification: All lifeboats have a unique identification number. The first part indicates the class. Tamar class lifeboats start with 16 because they are just over 16m in length. The numbers after the dash refer to the build number. So the first Tamar built was given the number 16-01. A build number with two digits indicates a hull constructed of fibre-reinforced composite (FRC). Three digits indicate a hull constructed of aluminium.

SIMS: The integrated electronic Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) allows crew to monitor, operate and control many of the lifeboat’s systems directly from the safety of their seats. It means they spend less time standing up and moving around the lifeboat and so are less prone to injury in rough weather.

SIMS provides access to:

  • communications
    including VHF (very high frequency) and MF (medium frequency) radio, direction finder (DF) and intercom

  • navigation
    including radar, chart, differential global positioning system (DGPS), depth and speed

  • machinery monitoring
    including engines, transmission, fuel and bilge.


Launching from a tractor, the D class lifeboat is ideal for rescues close to shore in fair to moderate conditions.

The D class lifeboat has a single 50hp outboard engine and can be righted manually by the crew after a capsize. First introduced into the fleet in 1963, the design of the D class has continued to evolve since its introduction and the latest version (also known as the IB1-type) was introduced in 2003.

It was funded by the legacy of George Lancashire who hailed from Middleton, Manchester, and died in November 2006 aged 88. He left the RNLI a share of his residuary estate for the purchase of a lifeboat in memory of himself and his wife, Muriel, who had died a few years before him.

D734 ‘George and Muriel arrived on station on 10 July 2010 and while on crew training that afternoon saved the life of a kite surfer off Beeston Regis.

Technical Information

Lifeboat category: Inshore

Year introduced to the RNLI fleet: 1963 - Her design has continued to evolve ever since

Latest Design: IB1 type introuced in 2003

Launch type: Trolley or Davit

Crew: 2-3

Survivor capacity: 5

Maximum speed: 25 knots

Range / Endurance: 3 hours maximum speed

Length: 5m

Beam / Width: 2m

Draught / Depth: 0.52m

Displacement / Weight: 400kg

Fuel capacity: 68 litres

Engines: 1 x Mariner engine at 50hp

Construction: Hypalon-coated polyester

Number in fleet: Currently 110 at stations and 25 in the relief fleet

Identification: All lifeboats have a unique identification number. The first part indicates the class so D class lifeboats start with D. The numbers after the dash refer to the build number. So the first D class built in the current IB1 design was given the number D-600.

Communications and Navigation: 


  • Fitted and hand-held VHF (very high frequency) radio

  • Magnetic compass

  • Onboard global positioning system (GPS) plotter.