Southend-on-Sea Lifeboat Station has a remarkable history of bravery with 59 awards for gallantry. It is the only station to operate three inshore lifeboats and an inshore rescue hovercraft.
This station is classed as an Explore station. Explore stations offer the best visitor experience. With free access, you can go inside and look around the station, see the lifeboat and, in most cases, pre-book a tour. They are normally open all year and have an RNLI gift shop.
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Southend on sea’s RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew had just returned from a morning exercise, when they were tasked by Thames Coastguard to two kitesurfers in difficulty near the Boom at Shoebury’s East Beach.
Volunteer RNLI crew from Southend lifeboat station went to the aid of a 17ft angling boat with three people aboard that had suffered engine problems three quarters of a mile east of the pier head.
Southend RNLI volunteers were laucnhed twice on Sunday 2 November, to a sailing ketch stuck in mud, and later to a group of people who were cut off by the incoming tide while conducting a baptism.
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Southend-on-Sea Lifeboat StationSouthend PierEssexSS1 1EE
Station opening times:
January–March weekends only; April–December 11am–4:30pm daily
Captain Brian Wood
Visitor contact telephone:
Shop opening times:
January-DecemberMonday-SundayGoverned by pier opening times
Specific crew member details for this lifeboat station are not available here at the moment.
More than 4,800 lifeboat crew members around the UK and RoI drop everything when their pagers go off, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Only 1 in 10 crew members has a professional maritime occupation. Men and women of all ages and all walks of life crew the RNLI lifeboats around our coasts and waterways.
Lifeboat name: Pride of London Foresters
Lifeboat class: D class
Funded by: The Courts of the London United District of the Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society
Read more about the D class
Lifeboat name: The Essex Freemason
Lifeboat name: Vera Ravine
Lifeboat class: Hovercraft
Read more about the Hovercraft
Lifeboat name: Vic and Billie Whiffen
Lifeboat class: B class (Atlantic 75)
Funded by: Stella Billie Whiffen
Read more about the B class
1826A Silver Medal was awarded to Coastguard Mr George Culmer for rescuing two people from the vessel Friendship.
1838A Silver Medal was awarded to Lieut Sidney King RN for rescuing two people from the barge John.
1879The RNLI established a lifeboat station; the lifeboat Boys of England and Edwin J Brett was either launched from moorings at the end of the pier or from a davit.
1885A second lifeboat station (No.2) was established and the lifeboat was carriage-launched. A boathouse was built at the bottom of Hartington Road. Self-righting lifeboat Theodore and Herbert used.
1887A Silver Medal was awarded to Light Keeper William Bradley for rescuing a man from the capsized steam tug Jubilee.
1891The No.2 lifeboat was moored inside the head of the pier during the winter months and kept in the boathouse during the summer. The No. 1 station lifeboat was removed.
1928The station’s first motor lifeboat was placed on service.
1935A new boathouse and slipway were built at the end of pier.
1938A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Sidney Page for saving seven people from five vessels during a storm on 2 June.
A second Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Page for rescuing six men from three barges on the night of 26 November
1940The lifeboat Greater London was one of 19 RNLI lifeboats that went to Dunkirk to help to bring off the British Expeditionary Force. In the last hours of the evacuation the Greater London hauled the destroyer HMS Kellett off the beach and saved the destroyer and her crew from capture.
1941A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain Page and Bronze Medals to Crew Members Frank Jurgenson, William Deer, Herbert Myall, Samuel Thomas and Reginald Sanders for an outstanding war service when the lifeboat went out eight times and rescued 12 men from several barges.
1947Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to Coxswain Sidney Page and 10 crew members for launching the lifeboat four times in 12 hours and rescuing seven people from three barges.
1953During a great storm on 31 January the sea flooded large areas of land in many parts of the east coast and the lifeboat was at sea for a total of 26 hours 35 minutes.
1955The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Coxswain Sidney Page for rescuing three crew from the motor barge Fence.
1962A collective Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Coxswain P Gilson and his crew for rescuing seven people from the vessel Temar that was on fire.
1965An inshore lifeboat (ILB) station was established with a D class lifeboat, which was housed on the promenade and lowered into the water by davit.
1968Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to Robert Chalk, Gordon Easton and D Morgan for rescuing two crew from a cabin cruiser.
1969A second D class lifeboat was sent to the station in April following the withdrawal of helicopters from RAF Manston.
Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to Robert Chalk and Colin Sedgwick for rescuing four people from two boats on 9 November.
1971Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to the crews of both the inshore lifeboats – Helmsman Duncan Clark and Crew Members Clifton Warry and Harry Pavitt, and Helmsman Dennis Webb and Crew Member Stephen Cox – for helping to rescue 26 people from 90 capsized yachts during a heavy squall and thunderstorm.
1974A Framed Letter of Thanks was awarded to Robert Chalk for jumping into the sea to rescue a woman in difficulties in the water. He was also awarded a testimonial on Vellum by the Royal Humane Society.
1976The all-weather lifeboat was withdrawn on 28 March and a B class Atlantic 21 lifeboat was placed on service.
1978The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Helmsman Robert T Fossett for saving two boats, rescuing six people and giving help to three other vessels on 6 June 1977.
1979A Centenary Vellum was awarded to the station.
1981The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to 16-year-old Carl Palmby for going to the aid, in his sailing boat, of a man clinging to his upturned dinghy.
Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to Helmsman Paul Gilson and Crew Members Glyn Gilson and Paul Manners for assisting the tug Laity F.
1982A Bronze Medal was awarded to Helmsman Robert T Fossett and Framed Letters of Thanks to Crew Members Simon Spratt and Mark Fossett for rescuing the two crew from the fishing vessel Mary.
1986HRH Princess Anne named the new Atlantic 21 lifeboat Percy Garon II on 2 May.
A new boathouse for the Atlantic 21 was built next to the D class boathouse after the 180ft coaster Kings Abbey sliced through a section of the pier on 30 June.
1989An extension to the Atlantic 21 boathouse was built for the second D class lifeboat.
1990The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Helmsman Paul Gilson and Framed Letters of Thanks to Crew Members John Foster and Clifton Warry when the D class lifeboat went to help the Atlantic 21 lifeboat Percy Garon II during a storm, steep heavy seas and darkness on 21 October 1989. The Percy Garon II was on service to a sinking barge when both engines failed and was drifting in dangerous waters at Shoebury Sands. Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to the Atlantic 21 Helmsman Robert Fossett and Crew Members Mark Fossett and Roy Kidwell.
1991A commemorative plaque was unveiled on 24 January by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal to mark the opening of the new Atlantic 21 boathouse.
1992The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Helmsman Paul Gilson for rescuing the two crew from the yacht First Knight on 23 August 1991. Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to Crew Members Clifton Warry and Duncan Clark.
1997The new D class lifeboat, D-527 Ethel Royal, was placed on service on 27 October.
1999A Framed Letter of Thanks was presented to the station after all three lifeboats had assisted several sailing dinghies that had been capsized or sunk by rapidly deteriorating weather on 3 January.
2000A Bronze Medal was awarded to Helmsman John Foster and Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to Crew Members Michael Whistler and Ian Rees when they rescued three people from the angling boat Lady Jane on 24 October 1999. The Walter and Elizabeth Groombridge Award for the most meritorious service performed by a B class lifeboat in 1999 was given for this rescue. Further honour was bestowed upon them by Southend Borough Council when they awarded them the Mitchell Cup.
2001A new boathouse was completed in July at a cost of £696,186.
A Framed Letter of Thanks was awarded to Helmsman John Foster for rescuing the three crew and saving the angling boat Sea Breeze on 12 November 2000.
2001The new Atlantic 75 lifeboat, B-776 Vic and Billie Whiffen, was placed on service on 8 December.
2002A Framed Letter of Thanks was awarded to Helmsman Stewart Olley (Atlantic 75) and Helmsman Michael Whistler (D class) when the two lifeboats saved the three crew and the angling boat Badger on 9 March.
2004The hovercraft, H-004 Vera Ravine, was placed on service on 10 July and a new boathouse for it was completed in September.
The new station D class IB1 lifeboat D-633 Pride of London Foresters was placed on service on 26 January.
The new station D class D-682 lifeboat The Essex Freemason was placed on service on 5 November. This lifeboat was generously funded by The Essex Freemasons. Lifeboat D-527 has been withdrawn.
The new station D class lifeboat D-771 William Henderson was placed on service 29 September 2014. Lifeboat D-682 The Essex Freemason has been withdrawn.
At Southend-on-Sea Lifeboat Station the following awards have been made:
Framed Letter of Thanks 22
Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum 24
Bronze Medal 9
Silver Medal 4
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 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 & copyright © RNLI 2014.