Sunderland is the oldest lifeboat station, celebrating over 200 years as a station. The first experimental motor lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet operated from here and today the station has two inshore lifeboats – an Atlantic 85 and a D class.
This station is classed as a Discover station. Our crews from Discover stations are equally welcoming to visitors but many of these stations were built before visitors were considered. These stations normally open their boathouse doors during the summer months.
Visit the station website
Amateur Radio operators throughout the UK and Ireland will be taking to the airwaves to raise money for one of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI’s) biggest annual fundraising events - SOS Day.
Lifeboat volunteers from Sunderland RNLI lifeboat station were last night (18 December) called into action twice in a five hour period.
Volunteers from Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station were amongst the emergency services which were called into action this morning (2 November) after a member of the public reported the sighting of a person lying on mud-banks alongside the River Wear.
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Sunderland Lifeboat StationMarine Activity CentreNorth DockSunderlandTyne & WearSR6 0PW
Station opening times:
9am–12pm Sunday or 7pm–9pm Tuesday
Groups by appointment only
Don't miss: crew training 7pm Tuesday and 9am Sunday
Parking, disabled parking, disabled access
Visitor contact telephone:
Shop 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: Wolseley
Lifeboat class: B class (Atlantic 85)
Read more about the B class
Lifeboat name: Helen & Ian Tytler
Lifeboat class: D class
Read more about the D class
1800 The first lifeboat was placed on the north side of the River Wear.
Between 1808 and 1912 there have been various stations at seven different sites on both sides of the river.
1856 A Silver Medal was awarded to Joseph Hodgson for saving lives over a period of 12 years.
1858 A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain W Davison for long service.
1865 The RNLI took over the original station.
1871 The RNLI took over the local lifeboat society and their three lifeboats. A boathouse was built at the South Outlet.
1882 A gas explosion wrecked the watch house of the No.3 boathouse. The Coxswain had both legs broken and another man had to have a foot amputated.
1891 A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain R Thompson for general services.
1905 The South Outlet lifeboat house was destroyed by fire on 25 July.
1911 Sunderland's first motor lifeboat, J McConnell Hussey, was the first experimental motor lifeboat in the Institution's fleet. She was built originally in 1893 as a self-righting pulling and sailing lifeboat, and in 1904 she was converted into a motor lifeboat with a speed of six knots.
1928 A Centenary Vellum was awarded to the station.
1953 A 150th commemorative Vellum was presented to the station.
1966 An inshore lifeboat (ILB) station was established with a D class lifeboat at Roker.
1984 The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Helmsman Michael Tighe and a Vellum service certificate was presented to Crew Member Alan Dixon for rescuing a sailboarder in difficulties.
1987 A Framed Letter of Thanks was presented to Coxswain Anthony Lee when he rescued two men from the missing fishing vessel Sea Fox after a four hour search.
1990 A Waveney class lifeboat was placed on service.
1994 A new D class lifeboat was placed on service.
1995 Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to Crew Members David Graham, Gerard McGill and Ian Donkin for rescuing three boys stranded on a ledge half way up a cliff in a small cove to the west of Marsden Rock.
1997 A Trent class lifeboat was placed on service on 28 March.
1998 A new ILB boathouse was completed in May.
1999 Framed Letters of Thanks were presented to Helmsman Michael Cowe and Crew Members Martin Barry and Brian Clark-Barkess for a service on 20 December 1998 to a fisherman who had been swept into the sea at Hendon Tanks.
2000 A Bicentenary Vellum was presented to the station.
2002 A new launching ramp was completed.
2003 The new D class lifeboat, D-608 Helen & Ian Tytler, was placed on service on 24 November.
2004 Following a Coast Review a decision was made by the Trustee Committee to withdraw the Trent class all weather lifeboat and replace it with an inshore B class lifeboat to work alongside the existing station D class inshore lifeboat.
A relief B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat, B-705 Vera Skilton, was placed on service on 16 August.
The Atlantic 75, B-762 Jack and Joyce Burcombe, was placed on service in November.
2007 The new Atlantic 85 lifeboat Wolseley was placed on service.
At Sunderland Lifeboat Station the following awards have been made:
Framed Letter of Thanks 7
Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum 1
Silver Medal 3
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 - 01073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240, RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 and RNLI College Ltd - 7705470 are all companies registered at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ. Images & copyright © RNLI 2014.