Eastbourne’s Diamond Jubilee, Tamar class

There are currently five classes of all-weather lifeboat (Tamar, Severn, Trent, Tyne and Mersey) in the RNLI fleet and the Tamar class lifeboat is the RNLI’s newest class. Designed to be launched from a slipway, with her mast and aerials being lowered to fit into a boathouse, the Tamar can also lie afloat. In 2010, Tamar class lifeboats launched 206 times and rescued 310 people, saving 8 lives.

The Tamar is fitted with an integrated electronic Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) so that the crew can monitor, operate and control many of the boat’s systems directly from their shock-mitigating seats, improving their safety.

Technical specifications

The bespoke seats enhance crew comfort and safety. They also incorporate essential controls such as throttles and joystick with the trackball for the SIMS screen close to hand.  The Tamar’s propellers and rudders lie in partial tunnels set into the hull that, along with steel-lined main and bilge keels, provide excellent protection from damage in shallow water or slipway operations.
In addition to her twin engines, the lifeboat is fitted with a hydraulic-powered bow thruster for improved manoeuvrability.  The Tamar carries a Y boat, an inflatable powered daughter boat housed under the aft deck, which can be deployed from a hinged door in the transom.
The Y boat has a 15hp outboard engine and is used in moderate conditions to access areas the lifeboat cannot reach.  Comprehensive first aid equipment includes stretchers, oxygen and Entonox and other equipment includes a portable salvage pump carried in a watertight container.
The first Tamar went on station at Tenby in Wales in 2006 and the Tamar class lifeboats will gradually replace the Tyne class.

Date introduced: 2005
Launch type: Slipway or afloat
Number in fleet: 16 at stations plus 4 in the relief fleet
Crew: 7
Length: 16.3m
Beam/width: 5.3m
Draught/depth: 1.4m
Displacement: 32 tonnes
Max speed: 25 knots
Fuel capacity: 4,600 litres
Range/endurance: 250 nautical miles
Construction: Hull: fibre-reinforced composite with single-skin section below the chine and 100mm thick foam-cored sandwich above;Deck and superstructure: 25mm foam-cored sandwich
Engines: 2 x Caterpillar C18 marine diesel; 1,001hp each at 2,300rpm
Survivor capacity: Self-righting – 44Non self-righting – 118

Image of SIMS on Tamar class lifeboat. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

The integrated electronic Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) offers the crew the ability to monitor, operate and control many of the boat’s systems directly from the safety of their seats.
SIMS provides access to all communications (VHF, MF, DF, intercom), navigation (radar, chart, DGPS, depth and speed) and machinery monitoring including engines, transmission, fuel and bilge.


The Eastbourne All Weather Lifeboat


The Inshore Lifeboat (ILB)

Eastbourne Inshore Lifeboat -ILB ‘D-744 Laurence and Percy Hobbs’

September 2011
Thanks to the generosity of lifetime RNLI supporter and Shoreline member Louise Hobbs, the volunteer crew at Eastbourne lifeboat station have welcomed a brand new inshore lifeboat to their ranks. When Louise sadly passed away in 1999, aged 96 years, she bequeathed part of her estate to Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat station. The legacy was for the specific purpose of funding a replacement for their D-class inshore lifeboat (ILB) when it reached the end of its serviceable life.

The new £39,000 lifeboat, Laurence and Percy Hobbs, is named after Louise’s father, Laurence John Hobbs, and brother Percy, neither of whom are alive today. The lifeboat replaces the old D-class inshore lifeboat Joan & Ted Wiseman 50, which has been on station since August 2003.

Ronald Hamlin, 92, is the nephew of Louise Hobbs. He said: ‘My aunt Louise was the youngest daughter of Laurence and his wife Eleanor. Laurence – my grandfather – was a merchant seaman, but beyond that there was no other family connection to the sea or the work of the RNLI. I gather Louise was just a great admirer of the life saving the RNLI does. Oddly enough, my own wife used to help fundraise for the lifeboats back when she was a young girl in Grimsby.’

He continued: ‘Although she did not hail from Eastbourne, Louise moved to the town in later life with another of my aunts, Martha. I can only assume she used to see and hear about the town’s lifeboats launching and just had a great admiration for the crews and love for the town, hence she decided to leave a donation specifically for Eastbourne RNLI.’