Currently there are two Lifeboats at Sheerness:

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

Shannon Class – Judith Copping Joyce

The Shannon Class Lifeboat named “Judith Copping Joyce” is 13m in length with a draught of 1.0m, she is self righting and in the event of a capsize is designed to right by her own means. She is the latest boat to be designed and manufactured by the RNLI in Poole, Dorset. She is number 13-38 meaning she is 13m in length and boat build number 38 of the fleet.

She is powered by twin Scania diesel engines with a B.H.P of 650 each driving Hamilton Jet Drive Propulsion systems and has a design speed of twenty five knots and an operational range of 250 nautical miles.

When on service she normally carries a crew of 6 who can be safely seated with seat harnesses in the wheelhouse.

Some of the equipment carried include:

  • SIMS Radar
  • SIMS DF, MF and VHF Systems
  • 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.
  • Oxygen and entonox
  • Rocket line throwing apparatus
  • Various SAR related equipment
  • Fully computerised operational systems and manual overrides
  • Precision boat handling, comfort and speed
  • Carbon Fibre suspension sprung crew seating


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.