Our Caterpillar Challenger is used to launch our Arctic 24 lifeboat, after being marinised by Habbeke Shipyard in the Netherlands. In order to operate the Challenger, our drivers are required to complete their Category H driving license.
The launch vehicle needs to withstand partial submersion in seawater during the launch and recovery of the Arctic 24. The engine, transmission and other essential components are contained within a watertight sealing that allows the Challenger to be submerged up the the driver’s cab. Also, during marinisation, the cab was raised 6 inches so that the underside can be thoroughly cleaned after service.
The Challenger’s air intakes can also be sealed so that she can deal with large swells and breaking waves during launch and recovery. The 25-inch tracks means the weight is spread over a larger area, reducing ground pressure and allowing her to easily travel over the soft sand and mud found on Southport beach.
About the Challenger
Name: Caterpillar Challenger
Call Sign: Southport Lifeboat Tractor
Manufacturer/Model: Caterpillar, marinised by Hebekke Shipyard
Weight: 18 tonnes
Top Speed: 18mph
Engine: 11.9l 6-cylinder, 410hp
Transmission: 10-speed full power shift
Electronics: Garmin GPS and ICOM VHF.