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Mersey-class lifeboat

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Title: Mersey-class lifeboat  
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Mersey-class lifeboat

12-007 RNLB Spirit Of Derbyshire
Class overview
Name: Mersey Class
Operators: Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Preceded by: Rother, Oakley
Succeeded by: Shannon
Cost: £350,000
Built: 1987–1993
In service: 1988–
Completed: 38
Active: 37
Retired: 1
General characteristics
Displacement: 14 t (14 long tons)
Length: 11.62 m (38.1 ft)
Beam: 3.81 m (12.5 ft)
Draught: 1.02 m (3.3 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × 280 hp (210 kW) Caterpillar 3208T diesel engines
Speed: 16 knots (18 mph; 30 km/h)
Range: 140 nmi (260 km)
Endurance: 10.25 hours approx. at cruising speed
Capacity: 43 survivors (self-righting up to 21)
Complement: 6

Mersey class lifeboats are all-weather lifeboats operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) from stations around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. They are capable of operating at up to 17 knots (31 km/h) and can be launched from a carriage.

The class name comes from the River Mersey which flows into the Irish Sea in north west England.


  • History 1
  • Description 2
  • Fleet 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


During the 1960s and 1970s the RNLI introduced fast lifeboats capable of considerable greater speeds than the 8 knots (15 km/h) of existing designs. The first of these were only able to be kept afloat as their propellers would be damaged if launched using a slipway or carriage. In 1982 the steel-hulled Tyne-class came into service which could be launched down a slipway but weighed 25 tons so was not suitable for being moved across a beach on a carriage. The answer was to build a smaller boat with an aluminium hull, which became the Mersey Class.[1]

The first, unnamed, Mersey was built in 1986 and undertook trails during 1987 and 1988. It was then taken out of service and sold the following year. It was working as a trip boat in Westport, County Mayo in 2008 carrying the name Spirit. Two more boats were built in 1988, with the first one to take up active service going to Bridlington Lifeboat Station the following year.[2]

In 1989 12-11 Lifetime Care was built with a fibre-reinforced composite (FRC) hull. Boats built in 1990 continued to use aluminium but from 1991 FRC became the standard hull material.[3][2]

In 2014, the first of the replacement Shannon-class boats replaced Merseys at Dungeness, Exmouth and Hoylake. The RNLI intends to have 25 knot lifeboats at all offshore lifeboat stations by the end of 2019.


The Mersey is designed to be launched from a carriage, but can also lie afloat or be slipway launched when required. Its propellers are fully protected from damage when launching or in shallow water by partial tunnels and two bilge keels. Its low height can be further reduced by collapsing its mast and aerials which then allows it to be stored in a boathouse. A sealed cabin gives it a self-righting ability.

Power comes from two Caterpillar 285hp turbo-charged engines. It carries 1,110 litres (290 US gal) of fuel to give it a range of 240 nautical miles (440 km). It has a crew of six and can carry a X Boat inflatable which it can deploy at sea. Its survivor compartment can carry 43 people, but more than 21 prevents self-righting should the boat capsize.[3][4]


ON[1] Op. No.[2] Name In service Principal Station Launching method
1119 1987–1988 Sold 1989
1124 12-001 Peggy and Alex Caird 1988–1995
Relief fleet
1125 12-002 Sealink Endeavour 1987– Hastings Carriage
1161 12-003 Doris M Mann of Ampthill 1990– Wells Carriage
1162 12-004 Royal Shipwright 1990– Relief fleet [5][6]
1163 12-005 Lady of Hilbre 1990– Hoylake Carriage
1164 12-006 Andy Pearce 1990– Llandudno Carriage
1165 12-007 Spirit of Derbyshire 1990– Ilfracombe Carriage
1166 12-008 Lincolnshire Poacher 1990– Skegness Carriage
1167 12-009 The Princess Royal (C.S. No. 41) 1990– St Ives Carriage
1168 12-010 Lily and Vincent Anthony 1991– Pwllheli Carriage
1148 12-11 Lifetime Care 1989– Relief fleet
1169 12-12 Marine Engineer 1990–1995
Relief fleet

1170 12-13 Keep Fit Association 1991– Filey Carriage
1171 12-14 Ann and James Ritchie 1991– Ramsey Carriage
1172 12-15 Frank and Lena Clifford of Stourbridge 1992– New Quay Carriage
1173 12-16 Grace Darling 1991– Seahouses Carriage
1174 12-17 Kingdom of Fife 1991– Anstruther Carriage
1175 12-18 Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs 1991– Scarborough Carriage
1176 12-19 The Four Boys 1991–1998
Sennen Cove
Relief fleet

1177 12-20 Leonard Kent 1991– Margate Carriage
1178 12-21 Margaret Jean 1992–2008
Relief fleet

1181 12-22 Ruby Clery 1992– Peel Carriage
1182 12-23 Robert Charles Brown 1992– Swanage Slipway
1183 12-24 Lil Cunningham 1992– Rhyl Carriage
1184 12-25 Bingo Lifeline 1992– Relief fleet
1185 12-26 Moira Barrie 1992– Barmouth Carriage
1186 12-27 Pride and Spirit 1992–2014 Dungeness Carriage
1187 12-28 Mary Margaret 1992– Relief fleet
1188 12-29 Eleanor and Bryant Girling 1993– Newcastle Carriage
1189 12-30 Her Majesty The Queen 1993–1996
Relief fleet
Lytham St. Annes

1190 12-31 Doris Bleasdale 1993– Clogher Head Carriage
1191 12-32 Joy and Charles Beeby 1993– Berwick-upon-Tweed Slipway
1192 12-33 Fisherman's Friend 1993– Relief fleet
1193 12-34 Freddie Cooper 1993– Aldeburgh Carriage
1194 12-35 Inchcape 1993– Arbroath Slipway
1195 12-36 Royal Thames 1993–2012
1196 12-37 Sylvia Burrell 1993– Girvan Afloat
  1. ^ ON is the RNLI's Official Number of the boat.
  2. ^ Op. No. is the RNLI's Operational Number of the boat carried on the hull.


  1. ^ Wake-Walker, Edward; Deane, Heather; Purches, Georgette (1989). Lifeboat! Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Shepperton: Ian Allan. pp. 38–43.  
  2. ^ a b Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 30–35. 
  3. ^ a b Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. p. 69.  
  4. ^ "Mersey". Lifeboats and stations. RNLI. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  5. ^ Royal Shipwright (Relief)
  6. ^ New Lifeboat for Cromer
  7. ^ "Official opening of one of the RNLI's most remote lifeboat stations". RNLI. 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 

External links

  • RNLI Fleet: Mersey Class
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