35ft 6in Self-righting motor-class lifeboat

Class overview
Name: 35ft 6in Self-righting motor-class
Succeeded by: Liverpool-class
Cost: £3,000- £14,000
  • Single engine: 1929–1940
  • Twin engine: 1947–1950
  • Single engine: 22
  • Twin engine: 5
Lost: 3
Retired: 24
General characteristics
  • Single engine: 5–6 tons
  • Twin engine: 8–9 tons
Length: 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)
Beam: 8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)-9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
Draught: 2 ft 8 in (0.81 m)
  • Single engine: 35bhp Weyburn AE6 6-cyl. petrol
  • Twin engine: 18bhp Weyburn AE4 4-cyl petrol/20bhp Ferry FKR.3 3-cyl.diesel
Speed: 8 knots (9.2 mph)
Crew: 7/8

The 35ft 6in Self-righting motor-class was a displacement hull lifeboat built in single engine form between 1929 and 1940 and in twin engined form between 1947 and 1950. The boats were operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution between 1929 and 1965.


The need to provide motor lifeboats at stations using carriage launching had first been addressed with the 35ft Self-righting motor type of 1921. Three of these boats were built and were to all intents and purposes pulling and sailing boats with an auxiliary engine. The definitive boat for production appeared in 1929, six inches longer and with the same 8ft 10in beam as the second and third 35ft types. After the first two boats had been put on station, a crash programme of production was instituted in 1931 and twelve boats were produced that year. These gave many stations their first motor lifeboats, but experience proved that stability was lacking and from ON 763 beam was increased by 5 inches. The final two single engine boats saw further beam increases, to 9ft 6in and 9ft 10in respectively. In common with the similar but non self-righting Liverpool-class, post war production switched to twin engined versions, but only five were built. The RNLI was increasingly switching to more stable non self-righting lifeboats and the single engine 35ft 6in Self-righting motors were replaced at most stations by Liverpool class boats in the early 1950s after only around twenty years service. The twin engined boats had even shorter lives, being replaced at three stations by Liverpools and at the other two by 37ft Oakleys after less than fifteen years service.


The challenge of producing a motor lifeboat light enough to be manhandled for carriage launching resulted in a boat weighing around 512 tons. The single RNLI designed, Weyburn Engineering built AE6 6-cyl petrol engine produced 35bhp and sat in a watertight engine room beneath pent roof access hatches ahead of an aft cockpit shelter from which the mechanic operated the engine controls. Apart from a small shelter forward the boats were open. As decsribed above, beam was increased during production in an attempt to improve stability. After World War II, five twin engined boats were built which had a beam of 10ft and a larger shelter covering the engine room and very similar to the contemporary twin engined Liverpools. The first two of these boats were powered by two 18bhp Weyburn AE4 4-cylinder petrol engines, but the final three had 20bhp Ferry FKR3 3 cylinder diesels.


Single engine

ON[lower-alpha 1] Name Built Builder In service Principal Station Comments
726 City of Nottingham 1929 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1930–1936
Sold in 1950
727 Westmorland 1930 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1930–1940
Sold June 1951
737 Louisa Polden 1931 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1931–1951 Redcar Sold in 1951
738 J.H.W. 1931 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1931–1939
Lytham St Annes
Padstow No.2
Sold April 1948
739 Lily Glen - Glasgow 1931 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1931–1952 Girvan Sold May 1952
740 Cyril and Lilian Bishop 1931 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1931–1950 Hastings Sold November 1950
741 Morison Watson 1931 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1931–1953 Kirkcudbright Sold in 1953
742 Herbert Joy II 1931 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1931–1951 Scarborough Sold in 1951
743 John and Sarah Eliza Stych 1931 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1931–1938
Padstow No.1
St Ives
Wrecked on service 23/1/1939, seven crew lost.
744 Laurana Sarah Blunt 1931 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1931–1952 Youghal Sold in 1952
745 Lady Harrison 1931 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1931–1948
Sold in 1952
746 William Maynard 1931 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1931–1939
Relief fleet
Relief fleet
Sold February 1953
747 Stanhope Smart 1931 Saunders-Roe, Cowes 1931–1947
Padstow No.2
Sold in 1951
748 Mary Ann Blunt 1931 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1931–1950 Clogher Head Sold in 1951
752 John and William Mudie 1932 J. Thorneycroft, Chiswick 1932–1950 Arbroath Sold June 1951
756 Civil Service No.4 1932 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1932–1948 Whitehills Damaged beyond repair on service 16/6/1948
757 Frederick Angus 1932 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1932–1949 Aberystwyth Sold August 1949
763 Caroline Parsons 1933 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1933–1938 St Ives Wrecked on service 31/1/1938
767 Catherine Harriet Eaton 1933 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1933–1953 Exmouth Sold in 1953
768 Thomas and Annie Wade Richards 1933 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1933–1953 Llandudno Sold in 1953
785 Sir Heath Harrison 1936 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1936–1949
Port St Mary
Relief fleet
Sold January 1956
826 Guide of Dunkirk 1940 Rowhedge Ironworks, Rowhedge 1941–1963 Cadgwith Sold in 1963

Twin engine

ON[lower-alpha 1] Name Built Builder In service Stations Comments
851 Tillie Morrison, Sheffield 1947 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1947–1953
Capsized on service at Bridlington 19/8/1952, one crew lost. Sold November 1959
878 M.T.C. 1950 Groves & Guttridge, Cowes 1950–1963 Hastings Sold in 1964
879 E.C.J.R. 1950 Groves & Guttridge, Cowes 1951–1956
Relief fleet
Capsized on service 19/8/1952, three crew lost. Sold March 1963
880 Isaac and Mary Bolton 1950 Groves & Guttridge, Cowes 1951–1963 Cullercoats Sold in 1964
881 City of Leeds 1950 Groves & Guttridge, Cowes 1951–1965 Redcar Sold March 1965
  1. 1 2 ON is the RNLI's Official Number of the boat.

External links

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