Stromness RNLI Severn Class Lifeboat Violet, Dorothy and Kathleen

Stromness RNLI lifeboat Violet. Dorothy and Kathleen in the Stromness Harbour basin


d0764 19-4-03 Harbour

The Severn class lifeboat has been designed and developed to replace lifeboats that lie afloat either at deep water moorings or at a berth. The design requirement was for two lifeboats of different sizes, capable of greater speed and providing protected propellers and the ability to take the ground if required. The Severn and the Trent class lifeboats were the result. Both are capable of 25 knots, and like all new all-weather lifeboats are self righting.

The Severn class is constructed from fibre re-inforced composite (FRC) which combines strength with light weight. A sandwich form of construction is used for the topsides, deck and superstructure. Single skin construction is used for the hull bottom.

The hull is subdivided into seven compartments and the deckhouse contains permanent seating for six crew and a doctor, together with stretcher positions. There is provision for two additional stretchers in the lower survivor space. The Severn is fitted with a bow thruster and the electronics include radar, laser chart plotter, echo sounders, speed log, anemometer, GPS (Satellite navigation), MF radio transmitter and receiver, VHF radio telephone, VHF direction finder, an intercom system and closed circuit television. 

A new addition to the original electronic aids onboard has been the installation of AIS, Automatic Identification Systems tracking transponders. This installation was made possible through the generous funding partnership of six Orkney based companies:- European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd, Aquatera Ltd, Orcades Marine Management Consultants Ltd, Leask Marine Ltd, Roving Eye Enterprises Ltd, and Scotmarine Ltd.     

Provision for survivors includes comprehensive first aid equipment including stretchers, oxygen and Entonox. They carry a portable salvage pump in a water-tight container, and can also carry out pumping and fire-fighting tasks using the engine-driven general service pump.

She also carries a Y class inflatable which can be launched and recovered by a lightweight framework and winch.


  • Length: 17m (55ft 9in)
  • Beam: 5.73m (18ft)
  • Draught (max): 1 .8m (6ft)
  • Displacement: 38.5 tonnes
  • Engines: Orignally fitted with Twin Caterpillar Diesels approx 1,200 bhp each, the lifeboat has been re-engined with Twin MTU V10 turbocharged marine engines capable of delivering 1600 bhp at a maximum of 2450 rpm. These would have powered the Severn to a top speed of 35 knots, beyond the design limit of the hull, so in practice the engines have been detuned to run at a maximum of 1300 rpm which delivers appoximately 80% of full power and takes the boat to its designed hull speed of 26+ knots.
  • Fuel capacity: 5500 litres (1200 gallons)
  • Crew: 6+1
  • Speed: 25 knots
  • Range: 250 nautical miles
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