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The RNLI is revealing latest and most advanced class of lifeboat that will shape the future of lifesaving for the next 50 years - the Shannon class.
The Shannon is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets, not propellers, and capable of 25 knots - the Shannon is 50% faster than the lifeboats it replaces - ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.
The charity will need to build over 50 new Shannons within the next ten years to replace the older classes of lifeboat.
It will improve the safety and effectiveness of the charity's volunteer crews, thanks to its shock absorbing seats and computer monitoring and operating system.
The charity estimates that the 50 Shannons in the class will rescue over 56,000 people and save the lives of over 1,500 in its lifetime. The Shannon class is expected to make up almost a third of the RNLI's all-weather lifeboat fleet.
Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive says:
"The Shannon class - the RNLI's new class of lifeboat - has been carefully developed by our in-house team of naval architects, marine engineers and operators with the safety of the volunteer crews at the very heart of the design. Not only has the Shannon been developed to protect the volunteers as they save lives at sea, but to reach casualties faster and with improved manoeuvrability, when precision really matters. The roll out of the Shannon will complete our charity's aim of having a fleet capable of at least 25-knots; we will be able to 'get there faster' for everyone, no matter where you are around the UK and Ireland."
The RNLI has launched a £5M fundraising campaign to fund two Shannons and their launch and recovery vehicles for the relief fleet. These 'relief lifeboats' will be used to replace station boats when they go for maintenance or repair and will therefore operate at many places around the UK and the RoI.