RNLI lifeboats can be divided into two categories: inshore and all-weather. The B class lifeboat is one of three classes of inshore lifeboat (ILB) – the B, D and E classes. The B class usually operates closer to shore than all-weather lifeboats, in shallower water, close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves.
There are two types of B class lifeboat – the Atlantic 75 and the Atlantic 85.
The name Atlantic is derived from Atlantic College in Wales, where the rigid inflatable B class was first developed. ‘75’ and ‘85’ are derived from a length of nearly 7.5m and 8.5m respectively.
The Atlantic 75 was introduced into the fleet in 1993 and the Atlantic 85 in 2005.
In 2010, B class lifeboats launched 2,995 times and rescued 2,942 people, saving 101 lives.