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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.

H-class Facts

Introduced: 2002

Construction: Marine-grade aluminium with moulded fibre-reinforce composite (FRC)

Length: 7.75m

Width: 3.36m

Launch Type: From transporter and slipway

Fuel Capacity: 127 litres

Crew: 2-4

Range: 3 hours at full speed

Engines: 2 x VW 1.9 turbo diesel engines

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