Our lifeboat fleet

There are over 400 lifeboats in the RNLI fleet based at our lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland and in our relief fleet. Between them, RNLI lifeboats cover 19,000 miles of coastline and some busy inland stretches of water. Here you can find out about the different classes of RNLI lifeboats and their technical and lifesaving features.

RNLI lifeboats are divided into two categories: all-weather lifeboats and inshore lifeboats. The different classes of lifeboat within these categories mean we can reach people in all kinds of situations and locations.

The type of lifeboat a station has depends on geographical features, the kind of rescues the station is involved in and the cover provided by neighbouring lifeboat stations.

All-weather lifeboats (ALBs) are capable of high speed and can be operated safely in all weather conditions. They are inherently self-righting after a capsize and fitted with navigation, location and communication equipment.

Inshore lifeboats (ILBs) usually operate closer to shore, in shallower water, near cliffs, rocks and even in caves.

We also have inshore rescue hovercraft for areas that are inaccessible to conventional RNLI lifeboats such as mud flats and river estuaries.

RNLI lifeboats are always ready to save lives at sea thanks to the care and attention given to them by station mechanics and our maintenance teams out on the coast and at our all-weather and inshore lifeboat centres. When they require longer repairs or planned services, refits and modifications, they are temporarily replaced by the same class of lifeboat from our relief fleet.

Meeting the cost of RNLI lifeboats

As a charity, we rely on generous legacies and donations to fund our lifeboats. But right now, our income is down at a time when our lifeboat crews are busier than ever.

More and more people are visiting the coast and needing our help, and too many are still drowning. If our lifeboat crews have any hope of reaching people safely and in time, they need, above all, the most reliable, the most advanced and the fastest RNLI lifeboats. Seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

You can help them weather the storm by giving whatever you can. Your gift to the RNLI, no matter how much, will make a lifesaving difference. Not only to the people we rescue and their loved ones, but to the crew and their families too.

Explore our lifeboats

More on the Shannon
Illustration of the RNLI Shannon class all-weather lifeboat
Shannon class lifeboat
Our most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet.
More on the Shannon
More on the Tamar
Illustration of the RNLI Tamar class all-weather lifeboat
Tamar class lifeboat
Fitted with pioneering crew safety features.
More on the Tamar
More on the Severn
Illustration of the RNLI Severn class all-weather lifeboat
Severn class lifeboat
The largest lifeboat in our fleet.
More on the Severn
More on the Trent
Illustration of the RNLI Trent class all-weather lifeboat
Trent class lifeboat
Our first all-weather lifeboat capable of 25 knots.
More on the Trent
More on the Mersey
Illustration of the RNLI Mersey class all-weather lifeboat
Mersey class lifeboat
Our first fast carriage-launched lifeboat.
More on the Mersey
More on the D class
Illustration of the RNLI D class inshore lifeboat
D class lifeboat
The workhorse of the RNLI with over 50 years' service.
More on the D class
More on the B class
Illustration of the RNLI B class inshore lifeboat
B class lifeboat
One of the fastest in the fleet with a top speed of 35 knots.
More on the B class
More on the E class
Illustration of the RNLI E class inshore lifeboat
E class lifeboat
Specially designed for London's busy River Thames.
More on the E class
More on the hovercraft
Illustration of the RNLI inshore rescue hovercraft
Rescue hovercraft
Ideal for mud flats, soft sand and shallow water.
More on the hovercraft
More on this boat
Illustration of the RNLI inshore rescue boat
Inshore rescue boat
Reaches casualties in the surf, fast.
More on this boat