The RNLI has teamed up with Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science and Technology to help create the next generation of lifeboats

The road towards the next generation of RNLI lifeboats will start at Newcastle University, after the charity announced a four-year development programme based in the North East.

Students from the university’s School of Marine Science and Technology will be carrying out trials, both in the lab and at sea, to analyse lifeboat design. The team hopes to improve on three key areas: speed, safety, and efficiency.

Lloyds’ Register will be acting as a third-party adviser, helping to peer review the new guidelines for lifeboat design.

Federico Prini (pictured above), research associate at Newcastle University, added: “When the RNLI’s lifeboats travel at speed and in rough seas, they can be subject to frequent and significant slamming as the boat crashes against the waves.

“Measuring these forces and the resulting impact on the vessel is crucial in order to design a craft that is capable of withstanding the loads experienced during rescue operations.”

The resultant design will be used to update the Severn class of lifeboats, the most recent of which was launched in 2005.

Measuring in at 17m (55’9”) a Severn lifeboat costs more than £2million to build, and 44 of the 46 launched since 1992 are still in active service.