Work has started to find a suitable site for a new lifeboat station off Mumbles.
From afar a drilling rig in Swansea Bay looks as if it might be prospectors searching for oil but it is being used by engineers testing the seabed.
Mumbles RNLI is to take delivery of a new £2.5m Tamar class boat in 2011.
The existing lifeboat station accessed from the pier cannot house the larger boat so a new station will be built off-shore.
Over the next few weeks engineers will test various parts of the seabed to identify suitable locations.
The RNLI said the new boathouse was in the survey stage at the moment.
Design work will follow before the plans are submitted to the city council.
The decision to upgrade Mumbles Lifeboat followed a coast review last year by the RNLI.
The recommendation to replace the current Tyne class lifeboat has been approved by the charity's trustees.
A spokesman said: "This is the first step in a very long journey, which will involve fundraising, planning, design and shore works before the dream is made a reality.
"The RNLI is a unique charity and has to plan well ahead into the future to ensure funds are in place to bring our plans off the drawing board.
"It is envisaged that the Tamar will arrive on station at The Mumbles in 2011."
St David's in Pembrokeshire is to take delivery of a Tamar class boat the following year.
A Tamar is already in use at Tenby and features state-of-the-art technology to enhance its lifesaving capabilities.
Compared to the Tyne class, the Tamar is bigger - 16m as opposed to 14 - and has a faster response time, with a speed of 25, rather than 17 knots.
It also has more safety features built in to protect the crew and a new on board computer known as Sims (Systems and Information Management System).
Mumbles has a special place in the history of the RNLI.
All eight crew aboard the lifeboat sent to rescue sailors on board the Samtampa perished when the ship ran aground at Sker Point in 1947.
It was one of Wales' worst maritime disasters claiming 47 lives in total.