H Class Rescue Hovercraft
RNLI Southend-on-Sea hovercraft H-004 Vera Ravine by Southend Pier. Photo: RNLI
The H-class rescue hovercraft serve the shores of the United Kingdom as a part of the RNLI inshore fleet. Currently none of the H-class serve at Irish stations. Designed around the RNLI's requirements the H-class modified Type 470TD design built by Griffon Hoverwork. (H-001 is Type 460TD).
Typically, the hovercraft operates on large areas of tidal mudflats or sand where the surface is too soft to support land vehicles and where the water is too shallow for boats.
Before rescue hovercraft were introduced into the fleet in 2002, the only method of rapid access to areas like mudflats and quicksand was by helicopter. And surface access was limited to walking, using mud mats and crawling boards.
Construction: Marine-grade aluminium with moulded fibre-reinforce composite (FRC)
Launch Type: From transporter and slipway
Fuel Capacity: 127 litres
Range: 3 hours at full speed
Engines: 2 x VW 1.9 turbo diesel engines
Relief 2002 to date
The Hurley Flyer
Morecambe 2002 to date
Hunstanton Flyer (Civil Service No. 45)
Hunstanton 2003 to date
Southend-on-Sea 2004 to date
New Brighton 2005 to 2018
Hoylake 2016 to date
Relief 2005 to date
Relief 2009 to date