In 1841 a lifeboat was placed at Southwold by the Southwold Lifeboat Society, and in 1854 the Royal National Lifeboat Institution offered £200 to the Society towards the building of a lifeboat and to take over the station. This offer was accepted. In 1866 a second station was established at Southwold which was closed in 1920.
Silver Medal awarded to Acting Coxswain John Fisher for the rescue by boat of two men from the brig Ury on 4 December 1948.
Silver Medals awarded to Coxswain Benjamin Herrington and Second Coxswain William Waters for rescuing nine of the crew of the brig Sheraton Grange on 29 November 1853. The attention of the Institution was drawn to the frequent acts of gallantry of the two coxswains of the boat. Coxswain Herrinton had been on service 10 times and had helped save 40 lives; Coxswain Waters, nine times and had helped save 38 lives.
In February the Southwold lifeboat, a large sailing boat, considered to be one of the finest in the kingdom, but not self-righting, went out for exercise only, was running before a rather heavy surf with all sail set, when she suddenly ran before a sea, broached to, and upset. The crew, having on their life-belts and the accident being within a short distance of the shore, were all saved although two or three of them were in an exhausted state; but three unfortunate gentlemen, who had gone off in the boat as observers and had declined to put on life-belts, lost their lives, they were George Ellis, Rev Robert Hodges and John Ord. George Ellis was the son of Captain Ellis RN, a member of the Committee of Management.
Silver Second-Service Clasp to Coxswain Benjamin Herrington and Silver Medal to Acting Coxswain John Craigie, for service on 17/18 September 1859 when 11 lives were saved from the brig Lucinde of Memel wrecked off Misner Head.
Binoculars and £10 to Coxswain Benjamin Herrington on retirement.
Whilst on service on 27 December to schooner Day Star the coxswain of the No 2 lifeboat was washed overboard but fortunately he was recovered.
Silver Medals awarded to Edward W Goldsmith, Thomas H Palmer and Alfred Took for swimming out through a very heavy sea and broken water in a whole south easterly gale and saving four of the crew of the James and Eleanor of North Shields wrecked on 13 January1895.
Silver Medal Second-Service Clasp awarded to Coxswain John Craigie in recognition of his long and gallant services during a period of about 48 years, in which he was connected with the boats, firstly as a crew member, then as Second Coxswain and finally, in 1879, as Coxswain.
Silver Medal Third-Service Clasp to Coxswain John Craigie on his retirement.
The President of the French Republic awarded Silver Medals and Diplomas to the Honorary Secretary, Mr E R Cooper, Coxswain S May and Second Coxswain C Jarvis, and the Bronze Medals and Diplomas to the 16 other members of the crew for the saving of four people from the smack Joseph and Yvonne of Dunkerque, on 27 November. The Honorary Secretary went out in the lifeboat.
Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain S May for the saving of the barge Beryl of Faversham on 22 December.
The Queen of Holland awarded Medals and Certificates to the lifeboat crew for the rescue of the five hands of the schooner Voorwaarts of Groningen on 17 January.
Coxswain S May was presented with a mounted Aneroid Barometer for good services when he retired.
Bronze Medal awarded to J H Gilings in recognition of his gallant conduct in rushing into the sea and rescuing a man on 26 November 1924.
Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Frank Upcraft for his efforts to rescue part of the crew of the ss Georgia which ran around on the Haisborough Sands on 21 November 1927 (see Cromer Station History for details).
The lifeboat Mary Scott was one of the 19 lifeboats of the Institution that helped to bring off the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in May. She was not manned by her own crew, but by naval ratings. On one of her trips she was in command of Lt S Dickinson, who was an inspector of the Lifeboat Service.
In 1940 when the coasts of Great Britain were preparing for invasion, a permanent boom of floats and chains was put out across the Southwold Harbour. No boats could go in or out and the lifeboat station had to be closed.
Harbour conditions at the entrance are too bad to allow a lifeboat to get in and out in all weathers and at all states of tide.
Inshore lifeboat station established in July with the placing on service of a D class lifeboat.
Bronze Medals awarded to Patrick Pile and Martin Helmer, crew members of the inshore lifeboat for the rescue of three people from an outward motor dinghy which had capsized off Walberswick beach on 6 February 1972.
D class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by an Atlantic 21 class lifeboat.
Bronze Medal awarded to Helmsman Roger Edward Trigg for assisting to rescue the crew of three of the motor fishing vessel Concord which had broken down three quarters of a mile east of Southwold piers in a south-south-easterly gale with continuous snow and a rough sea in the darkness of the evening of 16 January 1981. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to crew man J P A Adnams and to A Chambers, the skipper of the motor fishing vessel Broadside, who assisted in this service.
Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, The Duke of Athol, awarded to Helmsman Roger Trigg in recognition of his considerable skill and expertise in manoeuvring the Atlantic 21 lifeboat in a strong south-south-westerly gale and confused breaking seas when assistance was given to the motor fishing vessels Broadside and Ecstasy on 31 January.
A Vellum awarded to station to commemorate the services of the Southwold lifeboat station from 1841 to 1940 and 1963 to 1984.
The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Helmsman J P A Adnams for the rescue of four people from the motor fishing vessel Aquamanda II in Gale Force winds, torrential rain and dangerous broken water on 11 April.
The Walter and Elizabeth Groombridge Award for the best Atlantic 21 class lifeboat rescue of the previous year, was awarded to Helmsman Jonathan Adnams, crew member Marcus Gladwell and crew member Paul Horsnell, for the service to the fishing vessel Aquamanda II on 11 April 1989.
A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to Helmsman J P A Adnams in recognition of his courage and skill when assisting in rescuing the two crew of the yacht Haura and saving the craft on 4 July. The yacht was out of control in Gale Force winds and six to eight foot waves on the edge of Newcombe Sand. Helmsman Adnams manoeuvred the Atlantic 21 lifeboat closer to the yacht, transferred two crew members, one from the Lowestoft lifeboat, and attempted to control the large yacht in rough conditions.
New boathouse constructed. As well as housing the Atlantic 21 class lifeboat, it includes fuel store and crew facilities.
New Atlantic 75 class lifeboat B750 Leslie Tranmer was placed on service on 28 October. B562 has been withdrawn to ILC Cowes.
New Atlantic 85 class lifeboat B-868 Annie Tranmer was placed on service on 29 May 2013. This lifeboat was funded by the generous gift from the Annie Tranmer Charitable Trust. Lifeboat B750 Leslie Tranmer has been withdrawn.