The Barry and Peggy High Foundation

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join our fleet and the first to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it our most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. 

It is designed to be launched and recovered from a beach via a new faster and safer launch and recovery system, as well as lie afloat. 

Designed entirely in-house by a team of RNLI engineers, the RNLI has harnessed cutting-edge technology to ensure this new lifeboat meets the demands of a 21st century rescue service, building on systems developed for its big sister, the Tamar class. 

The Shannon will gradually replace our Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats, which are now nearing the end of their operational lives. Once rolled out, our entire all-weather lifeboat fleet will be capable of 25 knots, making our lifesaving service more efficient and effective than ever before. 

The naming of the Shannon follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers. But it's the first time an Irish river has been chosen. The River Shannon is 240 miles in length and is the longest river in Ireland. 

13-09 technical drawing

1 Hull

The hull, deck and wheelhouse are constructed of composite material, predominately epoxy resin film infusion.

2 Waterjets

This revolutionary craft pumps 1.5 tonnes of water per second from its waterjets and the jets are capable of absorbing in more than 700hp.

3 Electronic controls

The Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) means our crews can control a lot of the boat’s functions from the relative safety of their seats.

4 Deck

A large deck gives the crew a good platform for performing casualty evacuations with rescue helicopters, and makes it easier to set up tows.

5 Wheelhouse

All windows are coated with Nova NSN 70 Solar film, which allows 70% light transmission but cuts heat transmission by 50%, as well as blocking most UV and IR.

6 Launch and recovery

A unique turntable rotates the lifeboat once recovered, reducing the time and space needed to prepare for relaunch.

Lifeboat Factsheet

All Weather Lifeboat
First Introduced
250 nautical miles​
Maximum Speed
25 knots​
6 (including doctor)​​
Fibre-reinforced plastic​
Launching Method
Carriage or afloat​