Different classes of lifeboat are needed for various locations, depending on geographical features, the kind of rescue work that the station is asked to do and the cover provided by neighbouring stations. So RNLI lifeboats are divided into two categories: all-weather and inshore. The D class lifeboat is one of three classes of inshore lifeboat.
The D class has been the workhorse of the service for nearly 50 years. The inflatable D class is highly manoeuvrable and usually operates closer to shore than all-weather lifeboats and is specifically suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations, often close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves.