12-008 Lincolnshire Poacher

Station lifeboat

The Skegness RNLI all-weather lifeboat (ALB) is a Mersey class lifeboat named Lincolnshire Poacher that arrived in the town on 31 July 1990 after a four-day training passage from the RNLI's headquarters in Poole, Dorset.

Jump to: Fundraising Appeal | Build & Delivery | Naming Ceremony | Launch & Recovery
Tech Specs | Relief Merseys | Replacement

Lincolnshire Poacher arrives in Skegness, July 1990.
Lincolnshire Poacher arrives in Skegness, July 1990. (Photo: ?)

Designed in-house by the RNLI, the Mersey class lifeboat offers a huge leap forward technologically and in crew comfort, compared to the Oakley class lifeboats they replace such as Skegness' previous all-weather lifeboat, the Charles Fred Grantham.

Lincolnshire Lifeboat Appeal

A huge fundraising campaign was launched in March 1989 across the county, to raise the £600,000 required for the new lifeboat and a new boathouse to be built closer to the beach at the east end of Tower Esplanade.

As all funds were raised from the generosity of the people and businesses of Lincolnshire, with a considerable donation from the John and Lucille Van Geest Charitable Trust of Spalding, it seemed appropriate to name the new lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher.

Build and Delivery

The Mersey class lifeboat prototype and the first ten production lifeboats, including Lincolnshire Poacher, were produced using aluminium before the RNLI switched to fibre-reinforced composite (FRC) with the build of 12-11 Lifetime Care in 1990.

Lincolnshire Poacher was built at Aluminium Shipbuilders of Portsmouth before being towed over to the Isle of Wight to be fitted out at Suiters Yard.

In early July 1990 the coxswain, 2nd coxswain and assistant mechanic attended five days of boat and engine trials with passages from Cowes to Alderney and as far West as Falmouth before returning to Poole. Several members of the crew also attended a familiarisation course at Poole, before bringing her back to Skegness.

Lincolnshire Poacher successfully completes her self-righting trials, early 1990. (Photo: Gilbert Hampton Photography)


Naming Ceremony

The naming ceremony and service of dedication for Lincolnshire Poacher took place on the afternoon of Sunday 30 September 1990.

A large crowd gathered to see Mr Michael Vernon, Chairman of the RNLI, formally open the new boathouse and Mrs Lucille Van Geest hand Lincolnshire Poacher over to the RNLI and into the care of Skegness lifeboat station.

The day ended with a brief demonstration of the new boat's capabilities to show everyone who had donated to the Lincolnshire Lifeboat Appeal what their money had been spent on.

Mrs Lucille van Geest at the helm of Lincolnshire Poacher during a demonstration launch following the new lifeboat's naming ceremony, September 1990. (Photo: Lincolnshire Echo)

Launch and Recovery

Mersey class lifeboats were designed from the start to be able to be launched and recovered from a carriage, as is necessary at Skegness due to a lack of harbour or docks, and no locations suitable for a slipway to be built.

The Talus MB-H tractor tows the lifeboat across the beach on her purpose-built carriage before reversing into the sea, allowing the lifeboat to launch.

Lincolnshire Poacher is towed across Skegness beach by the Tallus tractor. (Photo: RNLI Skegness)

Lincolnshire Poacher ready to launch. (Photo: RNLI Skegness)

When the lifeboat is ready to come ashore, she approaches the tractor on the beach and a winch cable is attached to pull her up the beach. The shore crew have to place rubber skids under the boat until there is enough room between the stern of the lifeboat and the water to enable the tractor and carriage to position themselves ready for recovery onto the carriage.


Lincolnshire Poacher being recovered back onto her carriage following a training exercise in 2013.
(Photo: RNLI Skegness)

Depending on the sea and beach conditions, the recovery process can take upto 30 minutes. On a cold night, after a long time at sea, this can be very hard work for the crew who just want to get home to bed.

Once the lifeboat has been brought back to the lifeboat station, it can take another 30 minutes to fully wash her down, removing all the sand and sea water, to ensure she stays in as good conditions as possible.

One of the top priorities for the Mersey class replacement (the Shannon class) is that recovery time is significantly reduced, allowing for a speedier re-launch if the lifeboat is called out again, or for the crew to get home sooner.

List all launches for 12-008 Lincolnshire Poacher

Technical Specification


11.62m (38ft 1in)


3.81m (12ft 6in)


1.02m (3ft 5in)


14.3 tonnes

Max speed:

17knots (20mph)


240 nautical miles


2x Caterpillar 3208T
Turbo-charged diesel


2x 285hp



Last built:




Replacement cost:

Approx £1.5m

Fuel Capacity: 1,100 litres Survivor capacity: 43

Lincolnshire Poacher launching across a snow-covered beach, December 2011Lincolnshire Poacher launching across a snow-covered beach, January 2010. (Photo: Mike Irving)

Relief Mersey Class Lifeboats

From time to time, Lincolnshire Poacher has to go away for repairs or refits that cannot be carried out at Skegness. The RNLI maintains a fleet of relief lifeboats to stand in at stations when their own lifeboat is away.

Skegness has seen many of the RNLI's relief Mersey fleet over the years, including:

Further information about relief lifeboats in Skegness can be found on our Relief lifeboats at Skegness page.

Retirement and Replacement

12-008 being recovered after her final exercise in March 2017
12-008 being recovered after her last exercise in March 2017 (Credit: Steve Duncombe)

The Mersey class lifeboats were built with an expected operational life of 25 years, and the time for Lincolnshire Poacher twas launched from Skegness for the Final time on 6th March 2017 on a passage to Grimsby where she was lifted from the water and taken in to the RNLI relief fleet.

During her time on Station RNLB Lincolnshire Poacher launched 352 times, rescuing 195 people of which 38 were lives saved.

In 2017, Skegness lifeboat station took delivery of one of the RNLI's newest, most advanced lifeboats, the Shannon class, when the Joel and April Grunnill arrived in the town.

Latest News

  • 22


    Two RNLI lifeboats called in the early hours to assist 24 metre fishing vessel suffering engine failure.

    Volunteer crew at Skegness RNLI launched the stations Shannon class lifeboat, Joel and April Grunnill this morning (22 August 2019) to reports of a fishing vessel suffering from engine failure within the Race Bank wind farm. Tea...

    Read Full Story

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