NEWS: New Shannon Class Lifeboat Due At Sheerness

The RNLI have confirmed that a new all-weather Shannon Class Lifeboat will be built and stationed at Sheerness from mid-2020 to replace our current all-weather Trent Class Lifeboat ‘ George and Ivy Swanson ‘.

She will be named ‘ Judith Copping Joyce ‘ and will carry the number 13-38 which signifies her length (13mtrs) and the 38th Shannon to be completed. Sea trials will take place in early April and hopefully she will be on station in the weeks following.

You can find more information and progress photos of her build on our Facebook page .

HELP FUND THE BOAT : A local fund raising campaign is also underway to raise money towards the cost of the boat.  Please visit our Facebook page to donate or contact us here.

Currently there are two Lifeboats at Sheerness:

  • All weather ‘Trent Class’ Lifeboat
  • Inshore ‘D-Class’ Lifeboat

Trent Class – George and Ivy Swanson

The Trent Class Lifeboat named “George and Ivy Swanson” is 14m in length with a beam of 4.9m and a draught of 1.4m, she is self righting and in the event of a capsize is designed to right in approx 6 seconds.

She is powered by twin MAN D2840 LE 401 diesel engines with a B.H.P of 850 each, has a design speed of twenty five knots and an operational range of 250 nautical miles.

She carries 900 gallons of fuel and uses approx 80 gallons per hour at full speed.

When on service she normally carries a crew of 6 who can be safely seated with seat harnesses in the wheelhouse. In addition she can also carry 10 survivors in the cabin with safety belts.

Some of the equipment carried include:

  • Racal Decca Bridgemaster
  • RadarMF and HF radio
  • VHF direction finder
  • Night vision equipment
  • First Aid equipment and two stretchers
  • Search and distress flares
  • Portable general service pump
  • Searchlights and Aldis lamp
  • Twin VHF radios
  • VHF portable radio
  • “Sims” chartplot & GPS & AIS.
  • Two echo sounders
  • Auto pilot
  • Oxygen and entonox
  • Rocket line throwing apparatus
  • Small XP dinghy with outboard


By means of the definition, All weather, there are no weather restrictions on the Lifeboats operation. She covers a vast area from her station at Sheerness, the River Medway and lower reaches of the River Thames out into the Thames Estuary.

She lies afloat on an alongside berth within Sheerness Docks.

IB1 D-Class  D-799 “Buster”

Delta Class IB1 D-799 “Buster” is the inshore Lifeboat at Sheerness. In length she is 4.95 metres long with a beam of 2 metres and draught of0.5 metres.

Her displacement is 338kg. Powered by 50 H.P Mariner engine and giving a top speed of 25 knots with 3 hours endurance, she carries 68 litres of fuel and has a crew of two or three. Crew wear “dry duits”, lifejackets and protective headgear at all times when afloat. The ILB is kept on a trolley in the boathouse and transported to the launch site by quad bike where it is launched by a davit into the lower camber basin.

Some of the equipment carried include:

  • VHF radio and portable VHF
  • Search and distress flares
  • Oxygen equipment
  • Survival equipment for casualties
  • Searchlight and torches
  • Spare propellor and tools
  • “Sims” chartplot & GPS & AIS.
  • Nightvision equipment
  • First Aid equipment
  • Fire extinguisher


By means of the definition ‘inshore Lifeboat’ it is ideally suited for the work around the Sheppey coast and in the River Medway, where there are many creeks and inlets.