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Alfred Albert Williams 16-17

The Tamar is the latest & largest slipway launched ALB operated by the RNLI.  First introduced in 2005, there are plans for a fleet of 16 boats in the operational fleet and 4reserves.  The Alfred Albert Williams was the 17th boat built.  She deployed to Bembridge in late September 2010 and was declared operational in early October.   As with all the Tamar class she is fitted with an integrated electronic Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) so that the crew can monitor, operate and control many of the boat’s systems directly from their shock-mitigating seats, which improve their safety.   During 2012 she was fitted with a stand-alone AIS (Automated Information System).

Technical specifications

The bespoke seats enhance crew comfort and safety. They also incorporate essential controls such as throttles and joystick with the trackball for the SIMS screen close to hand.  The Tamar’s propellers and rudders lie in partial tunnels set into the hull that, along with steel-lined main and bilge keels, provide excellent protection from damage in shallow water or slipway operations. 

In addition to her twin engines, the lifeboat is fitted with a hydraulic-powered bow thruster for improved manoeuvrability.  The Tamar carries a Y boat, an inflatable powered daughter boat housed under the aft deck, which can be deployed from a hinged door in the transom.

The Y boat has a 15hp outboard engine and is used in moderate conditions to access areas the lifeboat cannot reach.  Comprehensive first aid equipment includes stretchers, oxygen and Entonox and other equipment such as a portable salvage pump carried in a watertight container. 

The first Tamar went on station at Tenby in Wales in 2006 and the Tamar-class lifeboats will gradually replace the Tyne class.  










32 tonnes​

Max speed:

25 knots​

Fuel capacity:

4,600 litres​


250 nautical miles​


Hull: fibre-reinforced composite with single-skin section below the chine and 100mm thick foam-cored sandwich above;

Deck and superstructure: 25mm foam-cored sandwich


2 x Caterpillar C18 marine diesel; 1,001bhp each at 2,300rpm​

Survivor capacity:

Self-righting – 44

Non self-righting – 118


Who was Alfred Albert Williams?

Alfred Albert Williams was a Hampshire man and a close friend of the husband and wife who made a significant donation to fund this all weather lifeboat for the RNLI.  The couple who came from Oxfordshire were keen sailors and owned a sailing boat which was moored at C & N's boatyard in Gosport, Hampshire.  They were good friends of Alf and chose to mark their friendship by naming a lifeboat in his honour.

Alf was born in Gosport on 23rd April 1913, one of 11 children.  He started his education at Clarence Square School followed by Greenwich School in London.  Being a Naval School this meant that he went straight into the Royal Navy at the age of 15 on 6th January 1928 as a Boy 2 signalman.  Alf served on various ships during his 27 years in the Navy.  He took part in the Invergorden Mutiny (the last recorded mutiny by British Forces).  He once went on the run in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), where he got a job on a rubber plantation working with elephants.  On one ship he used to have a pet monkey called ‘Charlie’ who he took on runs ashore with the lads dressed in his very own sailor suit.  Alf saw active service during the war; he was involved in the protection of convoys and was on board HMS Danae at the time of for the D Day landings.  After the war he continued in the Navy, serving at St Angelo in Malta as Chief Yeoman of Signals.  He retired on 22nd June 1956.  

Alf had various jobs after leaving the Navy but boats were always his passion..  He worked as a yacht skipper for the donor's father, a retired Naval Commander who always called Alf "The Chief" because of his rank in the Navy.  In later life, he worked for the donors themselves remaining "The Chief" until his death.

When Alf was not at work or hiding down on the boat he could usually be found working in his garden.

He loved children and wanted a whole football team of his own but he married late and only had one daughter named Sue.  He adored his daughter and was very happy when she met and married Dave and had two children of her own, Jade and George.

Ill health forced him at the age of 87.  He died of pneumonia on 21st December 2006 aged 93.

At the naming ceremony on 10th August 2011 Alf's daughter Sue said "It was so thoughtful of the donors to use my Dad's name but from what my father has told me about them, it's just the type of thing that they would do.  It's fantastic to think that the new Bembridge lifeboat bear's my Dad's name.  He loved the sea and being down on the boat!"