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RNLB Diamond Jubilee

Andy Jordan

Chessington, United Kingdom

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Taken from London Bridge pier looking across towards Old billingsgate Markets on Sunday 3rd June at the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.

Tamar class lifeboats are all-weather lifeboats operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. The Tamar class is the replacement for the Tyne-class slipway launched All Weather Lifeboat (ALB).

The class name comes from the River Tamar in south west England which flows into the English Channel where they are manufactured by Babcock International Group.


Since 1982 the RNLI had deployed 17 knots (31 km/h) Tyne Class lifeboats at stations which launched their boats down slipways or needed to operate in shallow waters. The organisation desired to increase the speed and range of their operations so introduced 25 knots (46 km/h) Severn and Trent boats from 1994 where they could be moored afloat.2 They then needed to produce a boat with similar capabilities but with protected propellers and other modifications that would allow it to be launched on a slipway.

The prototype Tamar was built in 2000 and was used for trials until 2006. It was sold in December 2008 to Kent Police, becoming Princess Alexandra III, the force’s permanent maritime vessel operating out of Sheerness3. The first production boat, Haydn Miller entered service at Tenby in March 2006.4 A few of the early boats suffered problems such as fuel leaking under the floor of the engine control room around hydraulic lines. These boats were recalled and the problems rectified. There are very few reported problems associated with the vessel now as the design and manufacturing process is largely perfected.5
A Y Class inflatable boat on the transom ready to be deployed.

The Tamar has a new design of crew workstation with seats that can move up and down 20 centimetres (7.9 in) as the boat passes through rough seas at high speed, and a networked computerised Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) which allows the crew to monitor and control the boat entirely from within the wheelhouse. The coxswain and helmsman have seat-mounted throttles, trackerball and joystick controls of the rudder.6 Alternatively the boat may be monitored and control by two controls on the bridge: Dual throttle controls and joystick on the left; dual throttle, wheel and control-screen on the right. All aspects of the vessel may also be controlled from this position.5

The lifeboat is completely water-tight allowing it to self-right with up to 60 people on board. The boat has the potential to carry a maximum of 120 passengers on board, but without self righting capability. The Survivors Space has room for 10 sitting and 8 standing. The Survivors Space is accessed either through the Wheelhouse or the fore deck Emergency Escape Hatch.

Each Tamar carries a Y Class inflatable boat which can be deployed and recovered while at sea.7There is a provision for a PWC (Personal Water Craft, more commonly known as a jetski) to be specified instead, should it prove more suitable.[citation needed]
ON Op. No. Name In service Station
1251 FS002 Princess Alexandra III 2000–2006 Trials boat[Note 1]
1280 16-01 Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson 2005– Relief fleet
1281 16-02 Haydn Miller 2006– Tenby
1282 16-03 The Misses Robertson of Kintail 2006– Peterhead
1283 16-04 Spirit of Padstow 2006– Padstow
1284 16-05 Helen Comrie 2006– Longhope, Orkney
1286 16-06 Frank and Anne Wilkinson 2007– Relief fleet
1287 16-07 Lester 2008– Cromer
1288 16-08 Grace Dixon 2008– Barrow
1289 16-09 Baltic Exchange III 2008– Salcombe
1290 16-10 Edward and Barbara Prigmore 2008– Relief fleet
1291 16-11 Mark Mason 2009– Angle8
1292 16-12 George Sullivan 2009– St Helier[citation needed]
1293 16-13 Victor Freeman 2010– Relief fleet[citation needed]
1294 16-14 City of London III 2010– Sennen Cove9
1295 16-15 Enid Collett 2010– Shoreham Harbour10
1296 16-16 Molly Hunt 2010– Appledore11
1297 16-17 Alfred Albert Williams 2010– Bembridge12
1298 16-18 Killarney 2010– Kilmore Quay13
1299 16-19 Irene Muriel Rees 2011–

Walton and Frinton[citation needed]
1300 16-20 Rose14 2011– The Lizard15
1301 16-21 John Buchanan Barr16 2011– Portpatrick16
1302 16-22 Alan Massey 2012– Baltimore 17
1303 16-23 Diamond Jubilee 2012- Eastbourne18
?? 16-24 John D Spicer - In buld for Porthdinllaen19

‘ON’ is the RNLI’s Official Number; ‘Op. No.’ is the operational number carried on the hull. Stations given as of 2009 unless otherwise stated

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