Ramsgate-class lifeboat

Class overview
Name: Ramsgate-class
Operators: RNLI
Preceded by: Norfolk and Suffolk-class
Succeeded by: 46ft 9in Watson-class
Cost: £8,500
Built: 1925–1928
In service: 1925–1955
Completed: 3
Retired: 3
General characteristics
Displacement: 21–23 tons
  • ON 697: 48 ft (15 m)
  • ON 704/5: 48 ft 6 in (14.78 m)
Beam: 13 ft (4.0 m)
  • ON 697: 1 x 80 bhp Weyburn DE6 6-cyl. petrol
  • ON 704/5: 2 x 40 bhp Weyburn CE4 4-cyl. petrol
Speed: 8 knots (9.2 mph)
Crew: 9

The Ramsgate-class motor lifeboat was a special design produced by the RNLI for three stations covering the Thames estuary and required to operate in shallow waters.


Designed at a time when the RNLI was happy to build special boats for the particular needs of individual stations, the Ramsgate-class (named after the first station to operate one) was essentially an amalgam of Norfolk and Suffolk and Watson design principles intended for the shallow waters of the Thames estuary. The first boat, RNLB Prudential (ON 697), was 48 feet long and single engined. The other two were 6 inches longer and twin engined. All three had long careers at their respective stations but when they were replaced between 1953 and 1955, it was with standard 46ft 9in Watson-class boats.


The first Ramsgate was an open design with no cockpits and low end boxes. Powered by a single 80 bhp Weyburn built DE6 6-cylinder petrol engine driving a single screw, the boat retained an auxiliary sailing rig as well as six oars. The other two boats were substantially redesigned, being six inches longer and powered by two 40 bhp Weyburn built CE4 4-cylinder petrol engines driving twin screws. The sailing rig was much reduced and the boats had a shelter ahead of the cockpit covering the engine controls. Just ahead of this was a funnel for engine exhaust.


ON[lower-alpha 1] Name Built Builder In service Stations Comments
697 Prudential 1925 S. E. Saunders, Cowes 1925–1953 Ramsgate Sold November 1953
704 Greater London (Civil Service No.3) 1928 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1928–1941
Southend on Sea
Relief fleet
Southend on Sea
Relief fleet
Sold September 1957
705 E.M.E.D. 1928 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1928–1953
Walton and Frinton
Relief fleet
Sold January 1956
  1. ON is the RNLI's Official Number of the boat.

External links

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