The Happisburgh lifeboats


Current Happisburgh Lifeboats

Information on the Lifeboats at Happisburgh

D-813 “Russell Pickering”. Arrived on Station in September 2017 just prior to the Naming Ceremony, which was held at Happisburgh Lifeboat Station.

As long-standing member of the RNLI, the Pickering family would like to dedicate this Lifeboat in loving memory of their son and brother, Russell Pickering, who died 2 years ago from cancer at the age of 50. They commented “we believe he would approve of our decision as he had a lifelong interest in sailing and outdoor pursuits”.

landingInformation on the IB1
Year introduced: 1963, but design has continued to evolve ever since
Number in fleet: 155
Length: 5m beam/width: 2m
Displacement/load: 400kg
Launch: Trolley
Fuel capacity: 68 litres
Crew: 2–3
Maximum speed: 25 knots
Range/endurance: 3 hours at maximum speed
Construction: Hypalon-coated polyester
Engines: 1 x mariner 50hp
Survivor capacity 5


May 8th 2017 saw volunteers move into the 21st century with the arrival of a new Atlantic 85 on station. This Atlantic 85 Number B-899 is named Howard Bell; who was part of the RNLI in Harwich and is the main benefactor for this boat. There have been 3 Atlantic 75 lifeboats at Happisburgh since the first arrived in 2009; with the arrival of this brand new Atlantic 85, which has larger engines, is longer and wider than the 75, has radar and DF (see console photos) and carries a fourth crew member, it is well equipped to enable our crews to carry out rescues at sea more effectively.

Howard and poppy had a great heart for the RNLI. After Howard’s eldest sister tragically drowned at Earlham’s Beach, Dovercourt in the early 1950’s Poppy and Howard set about raising funds for the RNLI. During their lives they raised vast sums of money for the RNLI.

In the 1960s they started fundraising on Fred Olsen cruise ships to encourage fellow guests to help the RNLI to save lives at sea. They enjoyed many happy years cruising and raising funds. Poppy was always knitting gloves and hats, plus making gifts for folk to buy.

Howard helped the RNLI at Harwich and then became Liaison Officer for Cromer and areas further down the coast. He received an MBE for his services to the RNLI.

Howard passed away on 31st October 2006. Shortly afterwards Poppy moved back to her beloved Dovercourt from Norfolk. Still the RNLI was in her heart, and she continued to help and support them. Poppy passed away on 1st June 2012.

Howard’s and Poppy’s ashes were scattered at sea from the Harwich lifeboat.

In their wills they wanted to support the RNLI and through their generosity others will be helped in the future.

Atlantic Information
Year introduced: 2005
number in fleet: 95
length: 8.44m
beam/width: 2.85m
Draught/depth: 0.53m
Displacement/load: 1.8 tonnes
launch : Carriage,
fuel capacity: 210 litres
crew: 4
Maximum speed: 35 knots
Range/endurance: 3 hours
Construction: Hull: carbon fibre and foam core laminate.
Structure: includes epoxy glass and foam sandwich layup.
Inflatable collar: hypalon-coated nylon.
Engines: 2 x Yamaha 4-Stroke 115hp each
Survivor capacity: 20

Communications and navigation

Fitted and hand-held VHF (very high frequency) radio
Crew Intercom
Onboard global positioning system (GPS)
VHF direction-finding (VDF) equipment
Electronic chart plotter with SAR functions

Douglas Paley returning to station by Philip Smith-1To enable the lifeboat to be launched and recovered in all states of the tide requires sophisticated launch and recovery vehicles. To this end we are equipped with a ‘Bendy’ tractor – this tractor is articulated and thus highly manoeuvrable , uses a hydrostatic drive system and the driver sits on a seat that swivels so that he can quickly change from ‘launch mode’ where he pushes the carriage into the sea when launching or recovering the lifeboat. He then turns the seat into ‘drive’ mode where he is facing the road and drives out of the sea.

IMG_3245-1The large tyres give a combination of good grip and spreads the weight enabling it to operate on hard and soft sand.

It is equipped with a powerful winch at the rear – this gives it the capability of recovering the trailer or itself if it gets bogged down in soft sand / mud. It can also be used to pull out other stranded vehicles.

In the unlikely event of ‘Bendy’ getting bogged down and the tide is coming in – the doors, top hatch and engine exhaust can be secured and the vehicle abandoned until the tide goes out – it is designed to withstand being fully submerged.

This is a vital part of our equipment and our bank of drivers undergo extensive training to operate it. At times it requires a very high level of skill to successfully launch and recover the lifeboat which can be at any time day or night, winter or summer

Live launch pager alertIf you are interested in being notified when one of our lifeboats are being launched then you may wish to download the RNLI Live Launch Desktop Pager for Windows and Mac users here

The Desktop pager is directly linked to our crew pagers.  When the crew are mustered by a pager call, it triggers a Desktop pager alert (Desktop pager by design has a 20 minute delay) . However, there are occasions when lifeboats launch without being paged.  This could be because they are on exercise, are attending in support of another lifeboat or because the crew have been summoned by other means.

The Desktop pager can therefore best be taken as an indication of lifeboat activity rather than a definitive account of launches.

Welcome to Happisburgh lifeboat station