Come and visit our lifeboat station for a fun, free and unique experience. Whether you’re a curious local or a holidaymaker looking for a family day out, we’re inviting you to explore our working lifeboat station, discover the history of our lifeboats and learn about our volunteers – past and present.
St Mary’s all-weather lifeboat is situated on one of over 100 islands in the Isles of Scilly, lying 28 miles from Land’s End. The station has a remarkable history of bravery, with 56 awards for gallantry being presented to the crews over its 170 year history.
Following a call for assistance the St Mary's RNLI lifeboat The Whiteheads, launched at 1.47pm on Sunday afternoon, the 10th of April.
The St Mary's RNLI lifeboat The Whiteheads, under the command of Peter Hicks, was launched at 3.30pm on Wednesday (13 April) in relatively quiet conditions to go to the aid of local fishing vessel Pioneer.
The coxswain of St Mary’s RNLI, Stuart Hitchens, has retired following 30 years of service to the charity. His retirement was celebrated at a presentation on Friday.
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St Mary's Lifeboat StationHarbour BayHugh TownSt Mary'sIsles of ScillyTR21 0NE
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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: The Whiteheads
Lifeboat class: Severn
Funded by: Olive Elsie WhiteheadRead more about the Severn
1837The first two lifeboats were kept in a boathouse on the town beach at Hugh Town.
1841A Gold Medal was awarded to Mr Charles Steel and Silver Medals to William Rowe, Patrick O'Niell, James Hyde and Barnard Hicks for rescuing four people from the steamship Thames.
1855The station closed.
1874The lifeboat station was re-opened by the RNLI and a boathouse was built on the beach at Porth Cressa.
1889A larger self-righting lifeboat was kept afloat on moorings in the harbour.
1891A smaller carriage-launched lifeboat was sent to the station.
1899A new boathouse and slipway were built at Carn Thomas.
1919The station’s first motor lifeboat arrived at the station.
1927On the afternoon of 27 October the steamship Isabo went aground on the Scilly Rock. The lifeboat Elsie and three other boats, Sunbeam, Czar, and Ivy, all responded and saved 32 of the 38 crew.
The following awards were made:
Elsie (lifeboat): Four lives saved – Silver Medal to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge; Bronze Medals to Second Coxswain James T Lethbridge, Motor Mechanic John Rokahr and Doctor William Ivers
Sunbeam: 12 lives saved – Silver Medal to Charles Jenkins and a Bronze Medal to Mr ER Jenkins
Czar: 15 lives saved – Bronze Medal to Mr William E Jenkins
Ivy: One life saved – Bronze Medal to Mr Ernest Jenkins
The Italian Government awarded four Silver and 34 Bronze Medals for this service.
1934A Bronze Medal was awarded to Acting Coxswain Harry Barratt for the rescue of six men and a dog from the schooner Myonie R Kirby.
1937A Centenary Vellum was awarded to the station.
1945Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge and Second Coxswain James T Lethbridge for rescuing 15 people from the torpedoed American liberty ship Jonas Lie.
1955A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge for rescuing 25 crew from the steamer Mando.
1967A collective Framed Letter of Thanks was awarded to the Coxswain and crew for services to the tanker Torrey Canyon, which went aground on the Seven Stones on 18 March.
1967A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge Jnr, Bronze Medals to Second Coxswain Ernest Guy and Motor Mechanic William Burrow and Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to each of the eight other crew members for rescuing the 19 crew and saving the yacht Braemar.
1970A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge Jnr, Bronze Medals to Second Coxswain Ernest Guy and Motor Mechanic William Burrow and Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to each of the eight other crew members for rescuing 10 people from the Nordanhav.
1972Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge Jnr and Crew Member Rodney Terry for a service to the crew and yacht Moronel.
1975Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge Jnr was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours List.
1977A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge Jnr for a service to the French trawler Enfant de Bretagne. The lifeboat searched for survivors amongst the wreckage and many uncharted rocks for nine hours. Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to each of the seven other crew members.
1979A special framed certificate was awarded to the Coxswain and crew for services to numerous yachts in difficulties during the Fastnet Race on 14 August.
1982The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge BEM for rescuing two crew from yacht Concherto.
1983The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge BEM for the rescue of six people after a helicopter had crashed in dense fog and dangerous waters.
1985Coxswain Matthew Lethbridge BEM retired having served nearly 40 years in the St Mary’s lifeboats, the previous 29 years as coxswain.
1987A 150th Anniversary Vellum was awarded to station.
1993A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Barry Bennett for the rescue of the sole occupant from the yacht Bacarole, which was swamped by heavy seas in very shallow waters of Porth Cressa Bay. The survivor was hauled onboard just as the yacht was engulfed by waves and sank.
1997The new Severn class lifeboat arrived at the station.
2004Bronze Medals were awarded to Coxswain Andrew Howells and Crew Members Mark Bromham and Philip Roberts for the rescue of an injured man from a yacht on 29 October 2003. The rescue took place in north westerly force 8 winds, 12 metre seas and 40 miles from the station. Petty Officer Air Crewman David Rigg and Leading Crewman Graham Hatch were both awarded The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum. The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society awarded Coxswain Howells The Lady Swaythling Trophy for 2003 for this service.
At St Mary’s Lifeboat Station the following awards have been made:
Framed Letter of Thanks 1
Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum 29
Bronze Medal 16
Silver Medal 9
Gold Medal 1
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.