Jet-powered boat will speed to rescue at 25 knots

A £1.8m jet-powered lifeboat that is faster and easier to manoeuvre was unveiled by the RNLI at their Poole headquarters on Sunday 8 June. The FCB2 can be launched in just a metre (3.3 ft) of water and can be landed high on the beach, enabling casualties can be taken to hospital more quickly. Propelled by twin water jet engines, the FCB2 can reach speeds of 25 knots, compared to the current Mersey class boat, which has a maximum speed of 17 knots.

The boat can hold six crew and six survivors, can hit the shore at full speed and come to rest high and dry. It only needs one person to help it onto a mobile slipway before being relaunched. RNLI spokesman Spencer Gammond said: ‘A hundred years ago we had rowing boats … we have gradually increased our capability!’

The boats are still in the experimental stage but the RNLI hopes eventually to have a fleet of 40, positioned at strategic points around the country.