The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) built twenty-two all-weather Waveney class lifeboats over a twenty-year period starting in 1962 as long-distance rescue vessels. The boats were the first fast (15 knots) lifeboats to see service with the RNLI and were based on an American coast guard vessel design.
Originally designed in 1961 the 44′ steel hulled boat became the mainstay vessel of the US Coast Guard rescue service. The boats were not designed for high speed, but rather sustained search and rescue missions up to 50 miles out to sea in 30′ waves. Her 250 mile range gave her a wide range with the capacity to house 21 survivors and tow a 125 ton vessel that might have become disabled.
The design was extremely successful and this resulted in 110 44′ lifeboats being built for the US Coast Guard. Many more vessels were built for rescue services in other countries, including the RNLI.
Our image shows the Whitby Pilot (St. Hilda), an ex-RNLI Waveney lifeboat, captured on 31st March, 2010, in Whitby harbour. Ironically a Waveney (White Rose of Yorkshire, 1974-1988) served Whitby but it went to Canada upon being replaced by a Tyne.