Swanage RNLI

Past & present boats

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Saving lives off the Dorset coast from Swanage since 1875.

George Thomas Lacy (13-13)

April 2016 to present

Speed: Designed to revolutionise the way we save lives at sea, the Shannon is 50 per cent faster than the Mersey with a top speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are at risk.

Manoeuvrability: The Shannon is the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets instead of propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet. Waterjets allow the vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. And when precision really matters, such as operating alongside a stricken vessel or navigating around hazards, they’ll come into their own. Measuring just 13m in length and weighing in at 18 tonnes, the Shannon is the smallest and lightest of our 25-knot lifeboats, meaning it can be launched straight off the beach via a new and improved launch and recovery system. Designed in conjunction with Supacat Ltd, the new tractor-borne carriage allows a faster and safer launch and recovery time than the present Mersey system. It operates as a mobile slipway, which solves the unique challenge of transporting, launching and recovering the Shannon over some of the most demanding beaches. After being recovered from the beach bow first, a turntable in the carriage rotates the Shannon ready for its next launch. Meaning casualties can be reached sooner and our volunteer launching crews are better protected.

Safety: The safety and welfare of our volunteer crews was a key priority in the development of the Shannon

Its unique hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas. And shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves.

An improved Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) allows the crew to operate and monitor many of the lifeboat’s functions from the safety of five of the six seats.

And as with all of our all-weather lifeboats, the Shannon is designed to be inherently self-righting, returning to an upright position in the event of capsize.

Efficiency and effectiveness: The Shannon will provide lifesaving cover around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland for decades to come.

Although each Shannon class lifeboat is expected to have an operational lifetime of 25 years, the life expectancy of the Shannon’s hull and wheelhouse is 50 years.

So after 25 years of service, each Shannon lifeboat will undergo a total refit where the machinery, systems and equipment will be renewed or replaced and the hull and wheelhouse reused – creating a new Shannon class lifeboat ready to save lives at sea for a further 25 years.

George Thomas Lacy (13-13)
  • Equipment onboard: The latest navigation and radar equipment, 2 VHF radios, a handheld VHF radio, comprehensive first aid kit, 2 stretchers, pain relieving gas and oxygen, salvage pump, fire fighting equipment, 15 illuminating parachute flares, 2 red distress flares, small inflatable dinghy for inshore work, 2 life-rafts, casualty recovery 'A' frame and a long tow line.
  • Length: 13.6 metres
  • Beam: 4.5 metres
  • Engine: 2 x 13-litre 650hp Scania D13 engines. Connected to twin Hamilton HJ364 waterjets​
  • Displacement: 18 tonnes
  • Speed: 25 knots
  • Range: 250 nautical miles
  • Crew: 6
  • Construction: Fibre-reinforced plastic

AIS (Automatic Identification System): Both the lifeboats here at Swanage are fitted with AIS which shows their position to the Coastguard at all times. If the lifeboats are at sea and in range then their position should be displayed on the map below.