The Will (ON 1201)
|Builders||Berthon Boat Co, Green Marine (Hull Moldings)|
|Operators||Royal National Lifeboat Institution|
|Displacement||40 t (39 long tons)|
|Length||17.3m (56ft 9in)|
|Beam||5.9m (19ft 4in)|
|Draught||1.78m (5ft 10in)|
|Speed||25 knots (29 mph; 46 km/h)|
|Range||250 nmi (460 km)|
The Severn class is the largest lifeboat operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The class, which is 17.3 metres (56 ft 9 in) long, was introduced in to service in 1996. It is named after the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain. The lifeboats are stationed at 35 locations around the coasts of the United Kingdom and Ireland and can provide coverage up to 50 miles (80 km) out to sea.
In the 1980s the RNLI's fast Arun and Waveney all-weather lifeboats provided coverage 30 miles (48 km) out to sea, operating at up to 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) to cover the distance in two hours in good weather. However, the RNLI felt that they needed the capability to extend their coverage to 50 miles (80 km) radius, which would require lifeboats with a top speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph). This resulted in the 17-metre (56 ft) Severn and 14-metre (46 ft) Trent lifeboats.
The prototype Severn was launched in 1991 (ON1179) and was named Maurice and Joyce Hardy. Trials started the following year and lasted until 1998. In 1995, the boat was de-named. Problems were encountered during the trials with the "skegs" that protected the propellers, but were designed to protect the hull by breaking off if the boat hit rocks, as the first ones were too easily broken. Crashing through heavy seas at full speed caused damage to the hull, too. It was transferred to training work when it carried operational number TL-02 and was named Peter and Marion Fulton, but was withdrawn in 2004. It was sold in 2005; in 2008 it was in use as a dive boat at Buckie, carrying the name Gemini Storm. Sold to Montrose Marine Services ltd in 2011 and renamed Eileen May. Sold 2019 into private ownership, based North Wales coast. The first production Severn was The Will. It had been built in 1995 by Berthon Boat Co (Builders of 21 of the 46 Severn-class lifeboats) for Stornoway but had to undergo several modifications before it was fit for service. It was eventually placed in the relief fleet in 1996 and shown to many lifeboat stations where the class was expected to be deployed. It so impressed the crew at Falmouth that they pressed the RNLI to station it there until their own boat was built, and so it was stationed there from January 1997 until December 2001 when it was replaced by Richard Scott Cox. In the meantime, Tom Sanderson had been deployed at Stornoway in 1999. The Will returned to the relief fleet after its time at Falmouth and has continued in that role since. Construction of its sister boats continued until 2005.
In 2020 the RNLI started to design a Severn Life Extension Programme (SLEP) with the intention of extending the fleet's lifespan by 25 years. It involves taking an existing boat and fully refitting it from the hull up. The addition of modern electronic systems and shock mitigating seats similar to those found on the Shannon class lifeboats, are among many upgrades. In July 2022 it was announced that the prototype was almost complete and would soon be ready for sea trials.
Severns are constructed of fibre reinforced composite material, and their hard chine semi-displacement hull is built so that it will stay afloat with two of its five compartments flooded. For added manoeuvrability, in addition to twin engines, the Severn also has a bow thruster fitted. The propellers are enclosed so that the Severn can take ground without damaging them. A Y-class inflatable boat can be deployed by an on-board crane for use in shallow water or confined spaces.
Severns have comprehensive electronics systems that include full MF and VHF DSC radio equipment, differential GPS navigator, an electronic chart system, VHF radio direction finder, radar and weather sensors. Provision for survivors includes comprehensive first aid equipment including stretchers, oxygen and Entonox. They carry a portable salvage pump in a water-tight container, and can also carry out pumping and fire-fighting tasks using the engine-driven general service pump.
Launching inflatable boat with on-board crane
|ON[a]||Op. No.[b]||Name||In service||Principal station||MMSI||Comments|
|1179||17-01||Maurice and Joyce Hardy (1992–1995)
Peter and Marion Fulton (1998–2004)
Training fleet (TL-02)
|Sold in 2005. Was named Gemini Storm but now known as Elieen May.|
|1203||17-04||Spirit of Guernsey||1997–||St Peter Port||232001940|
|1216||17-05||Pride of the Humber||1997–||Humber||232002440|
|1217||17-06||David Kirkaldy||1997–||Aran Islands||232002450|
|1218||17-07||John and Margaret Doig||1996–||Valentia||232002460|
|1219||17-08||Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II||1997–||Islay||232002470|
|1220||17-09||City of London II||1997–||Dover||232002480|
|1221||17-10||Michael and Jane Vernon||1997–||Lerwick||232002490|
|1229||17-11||The Whiteheads||1997–||St Mary's||232003049|
|1230||17-12||Edna Windsor||1998–||Barra Island||232003050|
|1235||17-15||Bryan and Gordon||1998–||Ballyglass||232003133|
|1236||17-16||Violet Dorothy and Kathleen||1998–||Stromness||232003134|
|1237||17-17||Fraser Flyer (Civil Service No. 43)||1999–||Relief fleet||232003135|
|1241||17–19||Ernest and Mary Shaw||1999–||Campbeltown||232003139|
|1242||17–20||Spirit of Northumberland||1999–||Tynemouth||232003140|
|1243||17–21||David and Elizabeth Acland||1999–||Newhaven||232003141|
|1247||17–23||Katie Hannan||2000–2008||Portrush||232004398||Damaged beyond economic repair after grounding on Rathlin Island.|
|1249||17–25||Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer)||2001–||Yarmouth||232004401|
|1250||17–26||Henry Alston Hewat||2001–||Mallaig||232004402|
|1254||17–27||Volunteer Spirit||2001–||Relief fleet||232004406|
|1255||17–28||Alec and Christina Dykes||2001–||Torbay||232004407|
|1256||17–29||Richard Cox Scott||2001–||Falmouth||232004408|
|1257||17–30||William Gordon Burr||2002–2008
|1260||17–31||Roger and Joy Freeman||2002–||Relief fleet||235005115|
|1261||17–32||Ernest and Mabel||2002–||Weymouth||235005118|
|1262||17–33||Beth Sell||2002–||Relief fleet||235005116|
|1264||17–35||Sybil Mullen Glover||2003–||Plymouth||235005121|
|1269||17–38||Daniel L Gibson||2003–||Relief fleet||235007799|
|1270||17–39||Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey||2003–||Tobermory||235007798|
|1271||17–40||Julian and Margaret Leonard||2003–||Lochinver||235007797|
|1276||17–43||Donald and Barbara Broadhead||2004–||Rosslare Harbour||235010875|
|1278||17–45||The Duke of Kent||2005–||Relief fleet||235013842|
|1279||17–46||Margaret Joan and Fred Nye||2004–||Relief fleet||235010878|
- ON is the RNLI's Official Number of the boat.
- Op. No. is the RNLI's Operational Number of the boat carried on the hull.
- Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 59–72. ISBN 978-0-7509-4858-6.
- Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 32–35.
- Kipling, Ray; Kipling, Susannah (2006). Never Turn Back. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-0-7524-9596-5.
- Morris, Jeff (2002). The History of the Falmouth Lifeboats (2nd ed.). Coventry: Lifeboat Enthusiast's Society. pp. 30–40.
- "New Robert Allan lifeboats". Maritime Journal. 15 July 2013. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
- RNLI (July 2022). "Severn Life Extension Programme RNLI update". RNLI. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
- "Severn Class Lifeboat Information". RNLI. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-7509-4858-6.
- "Particulars of Ship stations". www.itu.int. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- "Elieen May Facebook Page". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "Station history". RNLI Lifeboats. Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Year 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- RNLI Fleet:Severn Class