The charity that saves lives at sea...and on the Thames

lifeboat station

E-class lifeboat

First introduced in 2002, with the Mk1, the E class inshore lifeboat is the fastest lifeboat in the RNLI fleet and is only used on the River Thames.


Operating in both daylight and darkness, it is a fast response craft, developed for use with waterjets that give it excellent manoeuvrability in the rapidly moving river flow.


The E class features a working platform at the stern that makes it easier to recover survivors from the water. The equipment includes radar, GPS with electronic chart, VHF radio, police radio, blue lights, siren and night-vision equipment.


Towed inflatable rescue craft are also strategically positioned along the river and can be attached to the E class to accommodate a further 60 survivors each whenever necessary.


The next generation of E class lifeboat (Mk2) can now be seen on the Thames. They comfortably reach top speeds of 40 knots,. They are designed for improved crew comfort, safety and ergonomics, for example the front seats are adaptable for crew members of differing heights. Modifications have also been made to improve endurance and reliability for heavy use.


Hurley Burly and her sisters were designed by the RNLI’s own engineers in conjunction with Liverpool-based expert RIB builder Marine Specialist Technology Ltd. Lifeboat crews were consulted throughout the project, giving their views on how the original E class could be improved.

Technical information

tech spec boat1