The Boat

Artwork Scott Snowling for the TCLT

About the Vessel
The “Rotary Service” was the first Thames Class Lifeboat, designed and built in 1973 by Brooke Marine, Lowestoft based upon the previously successful 44ft Waveney Class Lifeboat, of Which 6 were built in Lowestoft.

The money for the initial purchase of the vessel was raised by the Rotary International of Great Britain & Ireland, and in 1974 she was delivered to the RNLI lifeboat station at Falmouth for testing, Whilst under evaluation several enhancements were made before a second Thames Class lifeboat, RNLI Official Number 1032 – Operational Number 50-002, was built and named “Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit”.

“Rotary Service” was launched on service 45 times and saved 17 lives. Its most meritorious service was in November 1977 when Coxswain Arthur West was awarded an RNLI Bronze Medal for outstanding bravery and seamanship, saving six men from a 110ft storm-lashed barge. She was then redeployed to the Dover lifeboat station and was officially named by Her Majesty the Queen Mother in 1978.

During her service at Dover she was involved in two further medal services in 1987 acting coxswain R Couzens was awarded the RNLI Silver medal and six of the lifeboat crew received RNLI Bronze medals.

By the end of her service life the vessel was attributed with launching 411 times, and saving 177 lives, before being sold to become a pilot vessel in Fowey, Cornwall and latterly Cork, Ireland.


Built: 1973, Brooke Marine, Lowestoft, Suffolk
2 x 390hp Detroit diesels 8V71TI
Allison M20R 2:1
Steel and Aluminium
17 Knots
Fuel Capacity:
2100 Litres
Cost (new):