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The Lifeboats at Redcar

Photo by kind permission of Glen at

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat stationed at Redcar since 28 march 2012 is the "Leicester Challenge 3". She was bought with funds raised by the people of Leicester and replaces "Leicester Challenge 2", the Atlantic 75 lifeboat which was stationed at Redcar from 2001.

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat is one of the work horses of the R.N.L.I.'s fleet, carrying out many rescues each year. Based on the slightly smaller Atlantic75 and Atlantic 21 class lifeboats which was first introduced in 1972, the Atlantic 85 was introduced in to the RNLI's fleet in 2005. Weighing 1.8 tonnes and with a length of 8.3 metres, "Leicester Challenge 3" is powered by two115hp outboard engines capable of a top speed of 35 knots, making her the fastest lifeboat in the sea-going fleet!

She is equiped with radar, VHF/DF direction-finding equipment, and carries a crew of four.

The hull is constructed of glass reinforced plastic onto which are mounted inflatable sponsons for extra buoyancy. At the rear of the lifeboat is a frame which carries the self-righting bag - gas cylinders carried on the lifeboat are used to inflate this bag in the event of a capsize, righting the lifeboat in seconds.

(Do you know how to quickly tell the Atlantic 21 and 75 apart? All 75's have a "B" number of 700 or higher, e.g. B710,while the Altlantic 21's have a "B" number less than 700 - the "Leicester Challenge 3" is B-868!)


Jacky Hunsley

Redcar RNLI lifeboat station took delivery of a brand new inshore lifeboat on Thursday 9 August 2007, thanks to the generosity of a woman from West Yorkshire. Named Jacky Hunsley, the new lifeboat is an updated version of the D class - one of the workhorses of the RNLI fleet - and is known as the Inshore Boat 1 (IB1).

Jacqueline Hunsley came from Leeds and died on 27 September 1999 in a tragic bus accident in South Africa. A lifelong supported of the lifeboat service, she left the RNLI a share of her residuary estate with the wish that the money be used in the area of the North Yorkshire coastline.

The D class lifeboat, first introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1963, was designed to be launched quickly and easily, providing a rapid response to distress calls close to shore. It is a fully inflatable craft built of a polyester material coated with 'hypalon' which is impact and abrasion resistant. The hull is divided into seven compartments so that, should one become punctured, the lifeboat will remain serviceable.

The design of the lifeboat has continued to evolve since it was introduced, however it was completely re-engineered and updated between 2000 and 2003 following extensive consultation with lifeboat crews. The production version of the new D Class, Inshore Boat 1 (IB1) was introduced in August 2003 with improved manoeuvrability and equipment and the top speed has been increased from 20 knots to 25 knots. The new model was the work of the RNLI's in house engineering team, who are responsible for the design and development of all the lifeboats in the RNLI fleet.

Tallus tractor
Last but by no means least, lets take a look at the "Cinderellas" of the lifeboat station - the tractor and shore crew.
Because the Redcar lifeboat station is on an open stretch of the North East coast, launching the Atlantic 75 is carried out using a launching tractor and carriage.
The tractor is a purpose built unit weighing some 9 1/2 tonnes and is designed to drive deep into the sea to launch the lifeboat. To do this the engine compartment is sealed with hydraulically operated doors. The driver, on the other hand, is not so lucky! In deep water the cab door is designed to allow water to enter the cab, adding "ballast" to overcome the natural buoyancy of the unit.
Leicester Challenge launching down the slipway
The launching and recovering of the lifeboat is carried out by the shore crew. These people work under the guidance of the Beach Master - the crewman in charge of all shore based activities. Like at other beach-launched stations this involves a range of duties, from making sure all the launching and recovery equipment is in top order to acting as "traffic controllers", making sure that the tractor and carriage travel safely along the esplanade.


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The Redcar Lifeboat Station is part of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Registered Charity No. 209603.
The information on this site, and the views of the Redcar Lifeboat Station and it's crew and officials, should not be taken as RNLI policies.
This site is maintained by Dave Cocks, Deputy Launching Authority, Redcar Lifeboat Station.
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