Situated in one of the main holiday resorts of Cardigan Bay, Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has operated for over 150 years. Today’s lifeboat is the inshore B class Atlantic 85. During it history the crews have been honoured with 13 awards for gallantry.
Aberystwyth RNLI lifeboat volunteers were called out on three shouts in as many days this week.
A photographer and lifelong RNLI enthusiast capturing stunning shots of lifeboat crew with a photographic technique from the 19th century is focussing on Wales once again.
RNLI volunteers have pulled two persons out of the waters off the coast of Aberystwyth this morning.
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Aberystwyth Lifeboat StationTown Quay AberystwythCardiganshireSY23 1JY
Station opening times
By appointment only or Sunday 10am–1pm
Mr Paul McCann
Visitor contact telephone
Shop opening times
Specific crew member details for this lifeboat station are not available here at the moment.
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Lifeboat name: Spirit of Friendship
Lifeboat class: B class
Funded by: Bequest of Miss Joan Bate of Wolverhampton
Read more about the B class
When this station was established it completed the chain of lifeboats on that part of the Welsh coast. Following collections in the town, a small lifeboat was purchased in 1843 and placed under the control of the Harbour Master. It was a small craft, 27ft long, with six oars, and was housed in a boathouse near the harbour. No record exists regarding the number of services this lifeboat carried out.
In February 1861, a public meeting was held to establish a branch of the RNLI. Rev John Williams was appointed Honorary Secretary. A ten-oared double-banked lifeboat, on the self-righting principle, was sent to station in October 1861, complete with transporting carriage and complete equipment. The inaugural launch of the RNLB Evelyn Wood took place early in November 1861.
In 1963 Aberystwyth was the first station to be equipped with an inshore lifeboat. Placed on service in May, the first rescue was on 3 June. In October 1964 the offshore lifeboat was withdrawn.
1866Silver Medal awarded to Watkin Lewis of Aberystwyth, in acknowledgement of his gallant conduct in swimming out, at the peril of his life, to effect a communication with the schooner Rebecca of Bridgewater that was wrecked off Aberystwyth on 25 March 1866 and afterwards helping to save her crew of six people. Also for wading into the surf at Aberystwyth and saving his own father, who, in endeavouring to save the life of another person, had been carried out to sea on 10 September.
1875New lifeboat house constructed at a cost of £250.
1877Crew member John James died from exhaustion after a long service to a schooner on 20 February. The Committee of Management voted £120 to local fund in aid of the widow and two children.
1880On returning to the shore after going off to the distressed brig Julia, the lifeboat under sail capsized after being struck by a sudden squall. Fortunately all the crew regained the boat.
1898Slipway was reconstructed.
1912During a severe gale the heavy sea damaged the slipway and lifted a portion about 18 inches, the piles being drawn out of the ground.
1954Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to Coxswain Baden P Davies, for the rescue of three people from the fishing vessel Lindy Lou of Aberdovey on 26 July.
1962Vellum awarded to station.
1963A D-class lifeboat sent to station in May.
1964Conventional lifeboat withdrawn from station 31 October and permanent inshore lifeboat station established.
1970The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Messrs A Blair, M Nichol and K Stone for the rescue of a bather on 1 September.
1976Bronze Medal awarded to Alan Blair, a member of the crew of the inshore lifeboat, in recognition of the courage and determination displayed by him when he swam from the motor fishing vessel Western Seas and dived repeatedly in an attempt to rescue two men who were trapped in the cabin of the capsized motor cruiser Annabel II about 60 yards from the north harbour arm on 22 February 1976.
1978A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to Robert Goorman, a member of the inshore lifeboat crew, who put out in his fishing vessel Lona on 6 December and took a sailing boat and a college rescue boat in tow in a south easterly gale. The sailing boat had capsized and the college rescue boat’s engine had broken down. The four people rescued required medical assistance.
1980Two doctors from a local hospital called at the lifeboat house on the evening of 10 April seeking the use of a boat to collect some clean seawater. A nine-year old patient, who had had pneumonia, had developed severe congestion in his bronchial passages, which the doctors believed could be eased by inhalation of vaporised seawater. The inshore lifeboat was launched and one gallon of seawater was collected from well out in Cardigan Bay. The unusual treatment had immediate beneficial effect on the boy.
1984The class of lifeboat changed from D to C.
1985A Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to Helmsman Alan Blair, in recognition of his commendable action on 3 July when he dived into the sea near a public slipway at Blackpill when en route to the home of the Mumbles coxswain following the Naming Ceremony of the new Mumbles lifeboat and rescued a young girl who got into difficulties whilst playing in the sea with a polystyrene board some 20 to 25 yards offshore.
1991Bronze Medals were awarded to Peter Heading, Helmsman of the C class lifeboat and crew member Robert Gorman, skipper of the fishing vessel Seren-Y-Mor for the service on 18 September 1990 when the sole occupant of the vessel Otter was rescued and the craft was saved one mile outside of Aberystwyth Harbour in a Force 7 wind and steep sea. The lifeboat took the yacht in tow after transferring crew member Michael Harris to the Otter and rendezvoused with the fishing vessel Seren-Y-Mor in a position ¾ of a mile west by south of the harbour. The Seren-Y-Mor took over the tow and the yacht was successfully taken into the harbour. Crew member Michael Harris was accorded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum for his part in this service when he boarded the yacht from the lifeboat established a tow and took over the helm of the Otter. Framed letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution were presented to David Davies and Martin Porter, members of the lifeboat crew, and Alan Blair, Brian Slack, Bryan Pugh-Jones and Sandro James, members of the Seren-Y-Mor crew. The Ralph Glister Award was awarded to the crew for his service.
1993New boathouse constructed for the station’s new Atlantic 21 lifeboat. As well as housing the Atlantic 21 lifeboat and launching tractor coupled-in-line, it also includes a fuel store and improved crew facilities.
The C class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by an Atlantic 21 class lifeboat on 24 June.
1994Atlantic class lifeboat withdrawn on 30 March and replaced by a new Atlantic 75 class lifeboat.
2007The new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat B-822 Spirit of Friendship was placed on service on 17 October. Lifeboat B-704has been withdrawn
2009A boathouse adaptation was completed to widen the doors at a cost of £10,000
2010The Trustees of the RNLI at their meeting on 3 November confirmed an anniversary Vellum to acknowledge the completion of 150 years service as a lifeboat station for 2011
MEDAL RECORDOne Silver Medal and three Bronze Medals have been awarded, the last being voted in 1991.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Registered charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland | RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 1073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240, RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 and RNLI College Ltd - 7705470 are all companies registered in England and Wales at West Quay Road, Poole, BH15 1HZ. Images and copyright © RNLI 2015.