Trent class lifeboat


Trent class lifeboat

Trent class lifeboats serve the shores of the UK and Ireland as a part of the RNLI all-weather fleet. They are named after the River Trent, the second longest river wholly in England.

Designed to lie afloat at deep water or at a berth, the all-weather Trent class lifeboat entered service in 1994 as an abridged, yet none-the-less robust adaptation of the Severn class lifeboat. Designed and built by Green Marine, each boat is constructed of over 100 mm thick fibre reinforced composite topsides, single laminate double hull bottoms, 4 water-tight bulkheads and prepreg epoxy, glass and Kevlar shields.

The "Trent", "Severn" and "Tamar" class lifeboats are the only true "all-weather" lifeboats of the RNLI fleet, and, as the name implies, are the only classes exclusively designed to operate in Europe's most hostile waters. Their roles typically see them and their crew leaving port when those ashore seek shelter.

Architecture

The Trent class itself has a service life of 25 years, although current estimates appear to exceed these original operational confines due to constant on-station maintenance, periodic refitting and sporadic repairs. In comparison with its predecessors, the boat has numerous additional advantages which aid in the overall success of every launch. One obvious detail would be its condensed hull, which allows it to operate in significantly constrained locations (such as marina berths and dense quayside scenes).

Another aspect aiding in its confined maneuverability would be the bilge keels which aid in protecting its twin drive props. Its hull sheerline sweeps down into an area known as the "welldeck", which dramatically helps with ease of casualty recovery. The remote location of an "a-frame" hoist also provides additional assistance for particularly awkward recoveries (such as casualties in stretchers).

Technology

As of 2006, each Trent class lifeboat is complemented with an array of advanced technologies. Each device provides full assistance in search and rescue operations, and therefore must be of an officially high standard. The comprehensive electronics fit includes full radio equipment including Navtex Multi-Frequency, Marine Very High Frequency and DSC installations. For navigation the crew utilize an array of digital select systems including DGPS equipment, and an electronic "Laserplot" chart display and information system which allows complete automated management via the vessel's onboard processors (autohelm), although comparatively infrequent in practice.

VHF/DF, radar and weather sensors are other features pertaining to the lifeboat. Provisions for survivors include complete First Aid Equipment including the Basket and Neill Robertson stretchers, oxygen and Entonox breathing systems, ambulance pouch, thermodynamic food canisters and even sickbags for ailing casualties. Trents house a small toilet arrangement, while the afterdeck houses a salvage pump in a water-tight container for use in inter-vessel salvage, while the presence of two fire hoses allow proficient firefighting. The Trent carries an inflatable XP-boat which is powered by a 5 hp outboard engine, and can be deployed in slight conditions to gain access to rocks or beaches when an inshore lifeboat is otherwise unavailable.

External links

* [http://www.rnli.org.uk/who_we_are/boats_and_stations/lifeboats/lifeboats RNLI] - Fleet
* [http://www.greenmarine.co.uk/rnli.html Green Marine] - Builders


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