Margate’s ALB – Photo credit: Sarah Hewes

The second blog in the our series ‘How well do you know your lifeboats’? Focusing on the Margate All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) ‘Leonard Kent’. Following the RNLI tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers, the Mersey is named after the River Mersey. The Mersey boat was the first fast carriage launched lifeboat.

The Mersey ALB
Photo credit : Sarah Hewes

The Mersey lifeboat is designed to be launched and recovered from a beach via a launch and recovery tractor and carriage just like the system currently in operation at Margate and can also be launched from a slipway (Douglas) or lies afloat.  The Margate boat is often called into action for incidents off-shore. Recent examples of it’s work includes: towing boats back into the harbour that have developed engine problems, rendering help to craft/sailers in difficulty, searching for persons observed in difficulty amongst others.

Technical Stuff

Crew of six (including Coxswain and Mechanic).

A number of Shore crew are also required to launch the boat including a fully qualified Talus tractor driver, head launcher and six launchers.

Maximum speed: 17 knots

Range: 240 nautical miles

Length: 11.62 metres

Self righting ability: Yes

RNLI Pager

Comms equipment: Very High Frequency radio (VHF) system , Medium Frequency with digital selective calling (DSC), VHF Direction Finder, GPS with chart system and radar.

Width: 4 metres

Depth: 1.02 metres

Engines:  2 x Caterpillar 3208T marine diesel engines; 280 horse power each at 2,800 rpm

Fuel capacity: 1,110 litres

Weight: 14.5 tonnes

(Margate’s Mersey Class Lifeboat being launched below)

The Mersey can also carry a small ‘X’ boat, which is an inflatable unpowered daughter boat. The ‘X’ boat is manually launched and allows the crew to row to areas the Mersey cannot reach.

Unique identification Number: All Mersey Class Lifeboats have the starting numbers ’12’, as they are nearly 12 metres in length. The second number after the dash relates to the number built.

Talus Launch and Recovery Tractor – Photo credit: Sarah Hewes

Further links

Margate Lifeboat Station




Margate Lifeboat Station

Andy Mills

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer Striving to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2024 by spreading key safety messages to Thanet communities and its visitors.