D-class lifeboat (Avon S650)

Class overview
Name: D-class (Avon S650)
Builders: Avon Inflatables
Operators: Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Preceded by: D-class (RFD PB16)
Succeeded by: D-class (Zodiac III)
Built: 1971
In service: 1971–1986
Completed: 4
Retired: 4
General characteristics
Class and type: Avon S650
Length: 5 m (16 ft)
Beam: 2 m (6.6 ft)
Propulsion: 1 × 40 hp Evinrude outboard engine
Speed: 20 knots (23 mph)
Endurance: 3 hours at full speed
Capacity: 10

The D-class (Avon S650) lifeboat was a sub-class of 4 inflatable boats operated as part of the D-class between 1971 and 1986 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution of the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was superseded by the D-class (Zodiac III).[1]


There were only 4 Avon S650 utilised by the RNLI as part of the D-class, the workhorse of the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) fleet. Significantly smaller in comparison to the rest of the inshore fleet, the D-class is also one of the few RNLI types not to feature a rigid hull. The main aspect of the boat would be both its size and weight, the D-class was specifically designed as a light and highly manoeuvrable rapid response craft.

Design and construction

The D-class lifeboat consists of two sponsons, together housing four inflatable segments intersected by baffles.[2]

This was one of the smaller classes of lifeboat operated by the RNLI, and while there were only 4 Avon S650's in the fleet, the D-class were a common sight at lifeboat stations around the coast. Unlike other members of the ILB fleet, the D-class does not have a rigid hull; all others, with the exception of the Arancia, hovercraft and ALB Tenders, are Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs).


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Op. No.[lower-alpha 1] Name In service Principal Station
D-201 unnamed 1971–1973 Harwich
  1. Op. No. is the RNLI's Operational Number of the boat.


  1. Leach, Nicholas (December 2009). Harwich Lifeboats: An Illustrated History. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 9781445623498. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  2. "Avon S650". Avon. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
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