Celebrating the fifth birthday of the Shannon lifeboat

Today (11 July) the RNLI celebrates five years since the first Shannon class lifeboat entered the fleet.
Jock and Annie Slater - the RNLI's first Shannon-class lifeboat

Photo: Tony Roddam

Jock and Annie Slater

Today (11 July) the RNLI celebrates five years since the first Shannon class lifeboat entered the fleet.

It’s incredible to think that within five years, our crews have launched these Shannon lifeboats 703 times on service, rescuing 876 people and saving 17 lives.

The Shannon was designed by our own team of engineers and it is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets rather than propellers. Water jets allow the Shannon 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 really come into their own. At maximum power, the Shannon lifeboat pumps 1.5 tonnes of water each second from her water jets.

As you may know, the naming of our Shannon class lifeboat follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers. However, this is the first time that a lifeboat has been named after an Irish river.

Jock and Annie Slater

The first Shannon (fleet number 13-01) to be built was named Jock and Annie Slater, she joined the RNLI’s Relief Fleet after an official ceremony in Poole on 11 July 2013. This Shannon will continue to be used all around the UK and Republic of Ireland during her expected 50-year operational life.

Since 2013, 28 Shannon class lifeboats have been made at the All-weather Lifeboat Centre (ALC) in Poole – a fantastic achievement.

The latest Shannon to roll off the production line at the ALC – Richard and Caroline Colton – will be stationed at Hastings Lifeboat Station once it has completed the necessary trials and has been formally accepted into the RNLI’s fleet.

The RNLI is so grateful for all the training and preparation that our Shannon crews complete to be fully competent to go out and save lives using this class of lifeboat.

You can read more about the features of a Shannon class lifeboat and where they are built here or watch this great video all about our newest lifeboat.