RNLI shops, museums and the College will open as Government guidance allows. Lifeboat stations remain operational but are not open to visitors.

Station history

WAR RECORD (1939-45)

During the war the Selsey lifeboat was launched on service 50 times and rescued 5 lives.


Eight medals have been awarded - five Silver and three Bronze, the last voted in 1984.

The station was established at Selsey in 1861 and the following account appears in the Institution's Journal for 1 July of that year. "Selsey - The National Lifeboat Institution has recently placed a lifeboat at Selsey, in Sussex, for the protection of the crew of vessels which get stranded on the Ower's Bank, and other shoals in the neighbourhood of Selsey Bill.  Selsey, being only a poor fishing village, a branch of the Institution has been formed at Chichester to aid in supporting this establishment, with the total of the Chichester and West Sussex Branch of the National Lifeboat Institution.  A double-banked lifeboat, 35 feet long and rowing 12 oars was forwarded to Chichester, together with a transporting-carriage, on the 5th June whence, after a public exhibition of some of her properties, she was drawn to her station on her own carriage.  The cost (£180) of this boat was presented to the Institution by some members of the Society of Friends."


Silver Medal awarded to Lieut E B Westbrook RN for saving three men from the rigging of the sloop Ann that went aground and sunk on 30 November 1837 in Chichester Harbour.


Lifeboat house erected at a cost of £19.


Owing to the encroachment of the sea it was decided to keep the lifeboat afloat.


Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain James Lawrence for long and gallant service in saving life.


Two lifeboats stationed at Selsey, the larger Lucy Newbon for the outer shoals and the smaller John & Henry Skynner for inshore work.  Trials showed that the larger boat was suitable for all work, and the smaller boat was withdrawn.


The lifeboat brought ashore 57 people from the Southampton steamer Queen which had been on a day trip to Brighton.  The weather conditions were extremely bad.  Thirty-six years later a Birmingham lady, Mrs Jane Gilchrist, who was a passenger on the Queen left £200 to the Institution and another £200 to the survivors of the Selsey crew of 1908.


New lifeboat house and slipway constructed at a cost of £200.


The Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Frederick Barnes for the rescue of two men from the motor yacht Lucy B in broken water in a small bay formed by two shoals on 2 November 1930.  In gale force winds hard squalls of wind and rain with a heavy sea Coxswain Barnes took his boat into the breakers in six feet of water and went alongside the casualty enabling one man to jump aboard.  After two attempts the coxswain got a line over and dragged the other man to safety before reversing out of the shallows to return to station.


The Maud Smith award for the bravest act of life-saving by a member of a lifeboat crew was voted to Mr W Arnell, a member of the crew who jumped overboard from a lifeboat on 17 April and rescued a man who was trying to swim ashore from an overturned boat in a choppy sea. 


Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Leslie C Pennycord for the rescue of the crew of six of the Swift which was in distress off the Pullar Bank in a south westerly gale and a very heavy sea on 17 November 1951.  At daybreak, after launching at 2045 and standing by all night, the casualty was seen to be on top of the Pullar Banks so Coxswain Pennycord went alongside three times rescued six men and landed them at 0830.


Coxswain Grant was one of the first men to receive a gift from the James Bower Endowment Fund.  This fund was established in 1955 by the P&O Steam Navigation Co as a memorial to James Michael Bower late Third Officer of the s.s. Stratheden who lost his life in a disaster.  Coxswain Douglas Grant was awarded the Institution's Silver Medal for gallantry for the rescue of 18 people from the yachts Maaslust, Coima and Bloodhound on 29 July.  This service was carried out in a rock infested area on a lee shore in appalling conditions of wind and sea.


Work commenced on reconstruction of station made necessary as a consequence of coast erosion.


Work on new station completed, at a cost of £75,000 and new lifeboat house opened by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon on 18 July.


D class lifeboat sent to station in March.


The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Michael Grant in recognition of the skill and determination he displayed when the lifeboat saved the fishing vessel. Jenny which had fouled her propeller and rescued her crew of three approximately three miles east of the Nab Tower in a strong south by westerly gale, a very rough sea and poor visibility on 10/11 December 1977.


Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Michael Grant in recognition of his courage, seamanship and determination when the lifeboat went to the assistance of the Panamanian cargo vessel Cape Coast which was making water in the engine room and listing approximately three miles south-east by east of Nab Tower in a violent southerly storm and a very rough sea in the darkness of the early morning of 10 January 1979.  Coxswain Grant manoeuvred in three times and with both vessels rolling and pitching violently, rescued the entire crew of 20 men.


The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum awarded to Coxswain Michael Grant in recognition of the skill and seamanship he displayed when the lifeboat rescued the crew of two of the fishing vessel New Venture which was sinking approximately one mile west of Nab Tower in a strong north easterly gale with extremely poor visibility due to heavy snow and a rough sea in the darkness of the night of 30/31 December 1978.


Silver Second-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain Michael Grant in recognition of the courage, determination and seamanship displayed by him when the Charles Henry lifeboat rescued the crew of six and saved the yacht Enchantress of Hamble which was aground off Selsey Bill in a southerly gale and a very rough sea on the night of 9/10 September 1983.

Bronze Medal awarded to Helmsman David Frank Munday in recognition of the courage and seamanship displayed by him when the lifeboat D-277 rescued the crew of three of the motor cruiser Joan Maureen which was stranded against the seaward end of a groyne, 40 yards from the sea wall at Selsey Bill in a strong south westerly breeze and heavy confused seas on the night of 5 October 1983.

The Ralph Glister Award for the most meritorious service carried out in 1983 by the crew of a lifeboat under 10 metres went to Helmsman David Munday and crew members Anthony Delahunty and Nigel Osbourn following the above service.



Ten lifeboatmen and committee members of Selsey lifeboat station were admitted to the Freedom of the City of London at an historic ceremony at The Guildhall, London, on 12 July.  The ceremony was conducted by the Chamberlain, Mr Bernard P Harty.  Alderman Sir Ronald Gardner-Thorpe who in 1984 attended the re-dedication of the new lifeboat City of London was also present.  This lifeboat was funded by the City of London Special Appeal.  The 10 men honoured were Coxswain Michael Grant, Second Coxswain George Woodland, Motor Mechanic Terence Wood, crew members Glyn Amis and Denis Warwick; Head Winchman Leonard Lawrence, Branch Chairman Brian Murr, Honorary Secretary; Clive Cockayne, Committee Member and Station Administrative Officer Ron Carbines, and Committee Member Freddie Sadler.


Boathouse constructed to accommodate the D class inflatable lifeboat.  This replaced the previous Hardun boathouse and contains a crewroom, store and souvenir shop.


The Trustee Committee resolved, at their meeting on 6 July, that following her refit towards the end of 2005, ON1146 Voluntary Worker replace ON1074 City of London after 22 years exemplary service.


The new station D class lifeboat D-691 Betty and Thom,as Moore was placed on service on 27 February.  This lifeboat was generously funded by Betty Moore in loving memory of her husband Thomas.  Lifeboat D-553 has been withdrawn to the relief fleet.


The 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.