Byline: RNLI Statement – FCB2 Experimental Lifeboat
The RNLI’s experimental lifeboat FCB2 (Fast Carriage Boat 2) has been trialled extensively to test its suitability as a beach launched and recovered all-weather lifeboat, and feedback from all involved with the project has been taken into account.
Trials have shown that the boat works well with the new launch and recovery equipment, which is also being trialled, and the boat’s water jet propulsion is effective, giving advantages over traditional propellers, especially when manoeuvring in shallow water.
However, the performance of the hull in head seas in rough conditions does not meet the operational requirements. At speeds greater than 14 knots in a head sea, the slamming loads are significant and unacceptable if the boat comes off a wave into the trough. It is for such reasons that thorough trials are essential; to identify and resolve issues before lifeboats are launched on active service.
As always, the safety of the RNLI volunteer crews is paramount so it has been decided that the FCB2 project team will develop a new hull that will satisfy all operational requirements.
This decision will result in a delay to the projected in-service date for the FCB2. Although regrettable, this delay is of secondary importance to the requirement to produce an effective all-weather lifeboat that is safe for the RNLI’s volunteer crews, fit for purpose, and a design that will be used for many years to come.
Chris Eves, FCB2 Project Manager