Station history

A station was established at Portmadoc in 1853 and a lifeboat was stationed there by the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society.  In 1854 the station was taken over by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the lifeboat was transferred to Criccieth.  The station continued to be known as Portmadoc station but was renamed Criccieth in 1892.  The station was closed in 1931 when a motor lifeboat was placed at Pwllheli.

The station was re-opened in 1953 when experience showed that it was desirable to have a lifeboat available to deal immediately with casualties in the North East of Cardigan Bay.

1845

Silver Medals awarded to W E Morris Harbour Master, R Parry, B Griffiths and Evan Jones who were all Master Mariners for a service on 1 July to an American ship Glendower wrecked in bad weather at Portmadoc.

1853

First lifeboat placed on station by SFMRBS, a 30st SR boat Dauntless, built at a cost of £133.

1854

A new Peake class lifeboat, referred to as First Lifeboat, built at a cost of £140, was placed on service in May.

1856

Silver Medal awarded to Mr John Roberts for rushing into the surf and rescuing four of the eight crew of the French Brig Charlotte, which had stranded near Harlech on 24 December 1855.  All of the crew, with the exception of the captain, attempted to gain the shore in the ship’s longboat, but the boat capsized in the heavy surf.

1859

The lifeboat was lengthened to 34ft.

1867

A new 34ft SR lifeboat John Ashbury, built at a cost of £300, was placed on service.

1881

Two lifeboatmen were injured, one seriously, and the John Ashbury lifeboat was damaged whilst on service to the Barque Matilda Hilyard, which was in difficulties off Mochras on 8 February.  In rough seas, the lifeboat, which was secured to the Barque, was carried under the stern of the Matilda Hilyard and as the injured men with the remainder of the crew were taken off the painter parted and the lifeboat drifted on the Mochras. The lifeboat was subsequently repaired at a cost of £66.

1886

Committee of Management voted binoculars to Mr D Homfrey, who had been Honorary Secretary for 17 years.
A new 34ft SR lifeboat Caroline ON65, built at a cost of £296, was placed on service in August.

1892

Lifeboat house reconstructed at a cost of £600.

1894

Sound Signals supplied for summoning the crew, who had hitherto been called out by messenger.

1910

In October the lifeboat was launched on service in a whole east north easterly gale; she was thrown back on the boulders and one man was thrown out and was fortunately recovered.  The lifeboat re-launched and when nearing the casualty was thrown on her beam and three of her crew was swept out; they were all recovered.

A 34ft SR lifeboat from the Reserve fleet, James and Caroline ON275, was placed on service in August, the Caroline having been condemned and broken up.

In October the James and Caroline was damaged in a service and returned to London where she was subsequently condemned and broken up. A further Reserve fleet 34ft SR Jane Hannah Macdonald ON348 was placed on service as her replacement.

1911

Boulders removed at a cost of £130.

A new Rubie class SR lifeboat Philip Woolley ON624, built at a cost of £983, was placed on service in September.

1931

Station closed when a motor lifeboat was placed at Pwllheli.

1953

Station re-opened as a lifeboat was needed to cover the north east area of Cardigan Bay.

A Liverpool class motorised lifeboat Richard Silver Oliver ON794, built in 1937 at a cost of £3,684 and previously on service at Cullercoats, Newquay and Ilfracombe, was placed on service in July. 

1959

A Centenary Vellum awarded to station.

1961

A Liverpool class lifeboat Robert Lindsay ON874, built in 1950 at a cost of £11,857 and previously on service at Arbroath and Girvan, was placed on service and the Richard Silver Oliver transferred to the Reserve fleet.

1967

A D class lifeboat D-117 sent to station in April.

1968

All weather lifeboat Robert Lindsay ON874 withdrawn on 31 March.

1971

A new D class ILB D-207 was placed on service in October and D-117 transferred to Blackpool.

1974

A D class ILB D-140, previously on service at Aberystwyth and Aberdovey, was placed on service in August and D-207 transferred to the Relief fleet.

1977

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to helmsman James Owen and crew members Kenneth Roberts and Robert Williams in recognition of the skill and determination displayed by them when they landed four people from the yacht Zircon which went aground on Portmadoc Bar in a strong south westerly wind and a rough sea on 1 September.

1980

A new D class ILB D-272 was placed on service in August and D-140 transferred to the Relief fleet.

1983

The class of lifeboat changed from D to C class lifeboat on 16 September, C-510 was placed on service and D-272 retired to the Relief fleet.

1993

A side extension to the boathouse has been constructed.  It includes a souvenir sales outlet, a workshop, and improved crew facilities.  The boathouse has also been extended slightly to the rear, in order to accommodate an Atlantic 21 class lifeboat and launching tractor.

C class lifeboat withdrawn on 4 December and replaced by a B class Atlantic 21 lifeboat B-531 Foresters from the Relief fleet.

1994

On 20 April, HRH The Duchess of Kent presented A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution to Helmsman William Walker-Jones for the service on 7 October 1993, when two people were rescued from the yacht Lady Amanda.  The yacht was hard aground on the North Bank, near the Porthmadog Bar rolling and pitching in breaking surf and winds gusting to Force 6.  After a few aborted approaches to close the yacht, the lifeboat was brought alongside, and despite her engines touching the bottom and a considerable amount of water being shipped, the two injured people were rescued.  This was Mr Walker-Jones first service as an inshore lifeboat helmsman.

Atlantic 21 lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by the new Atlantic 75 class lifeboat B-707 Mercurius on 30 June.

2000

A letter of appreciation from the RNLI’s Director was sent to Helmsman Kevin Owen for rescuing an injured 12-year-old girl from the foot of the cliff. He had to cross the Porthmadog Bar twice in gale force winds and against an ebb tide.

2007

The new Atlantic 85 lifeboat B-823 Doris Joan was placed on service on 6 November.  This lifeboat was funded by the generous bequest of Miss Joan Heaton.  Lifeboat B707 Marcurius has been relocated to Loch Ness.

2008

Adaptation to boathouse to accommodate FIB1 completed in February at a cost of £11,154.

2009

An RNLI lifeboat Arancia IRB A-70 was placed on station on an extended operational evaluation trail primarily to deal with casualties in the shallow waters of the Glaslyn and Dwyryd estuaries.

2010

The Trustees of the RNLI at their meeting on 3 November 2010 confirmed the allocation of an Arancia class lifeboat A-73 to complement the station’s B class ILB.  

The Trustees of the RNLI at their meeting on 3 November 2010 voted the award of a Vellum to commemorate 150 years aggregate service.

2011

A new Arancia class IRB, A-76 Margaret and Nantw placed on service on 16 June.

MEDAL RECORD

The Criccieth station has been awarded 5 medals, all silver, the last being in 1856.