Station history

The station was established in 1848 and taken over by the Institution in 1895 from the Harbour Trustees whose existing lifeboat was then 20 years old and of an obsolete type. The station was closed from 1913 to 1921.

This is an important station.  All traffic north-about round Scotland and through the Pentland Firth passes fairly close to Wick.

1828

Silver Medal awarded to Mr Andrew Lake, coastguard, in connection with the service to the Brig St Nicholas that was wrecked at Freswick Bay on 28 February.

1839

Silver Medal awarded to Mr Robert MacAlister for the rescue of seven people from the Brig Thomas Dougall that was driven onto rocks at Occmuster in a violent mid morning gale on 12 March. 

1847

Silver Medal awarded to Mr James Wishart for the rescue of the mate from the sloop Anna that was wrecked near Thurso on 16 March 1846.

1848

Silver Medal awarded to Mr W Williamson for the rescue of the crew of six of the sloop Sisters that got into difficulties at the entrance to Wick Harbour on 21 November 1847.  

1857

Silver Medal awarded to Commander John Tudor RN for the attempted rescue of the crew of the galliot Vronia Santina in a storm on 9 September 1957. The lifeboat was rendered useless by heavy seas which broke or carried away all her oars. Alexander Bain was washed out of the lifeboat and drowned. Committee of Management voted £20 to the local fund.

1860

Silver Medal Second Service Clasp awarded to Captain Tudor RN for the rescue, at much risk of life, of two people from the sloop Maria which was wrecked during a heavy gale on 20 November 1860.

1895

The RNLI took over the station from the Harbour Trustees. John Avins (ON385) began service.

1905

While attempting to render assistance to a coble on 11 April the lifeboat was thrown on to the rocks and practically wrecked. The crew were all rescued without injury.

1913

The station was temporarily closed while a new lifeboat station was built.

1916

New lifeboat house with slipway completed at a cost of £4,000. Due to delays caused by the Great War, motor lifeboat did not arrive until 1921.

1921

The lifeboat station was reopened. Frederick and Emma (ON659) began service.

1938

City of Edinburgh (ON802) began service.

1942

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Neil Stewart for the rescue of 31 people from the tug St Olaves and a motor barge Gold Crown that went aground in a north-easterly gale, very high sea and dangerous cross swell on 21 September. The lifeboat launched into pitch darkness and torrential rain but could not at first find the two vessels; finally at dawn they were sighted and 27 very cold and exhausted men were taken from the barge and four from the tug.

1968

Sir Godfrey Baring (ON887) began service.

1970

Princess Marina (ON1016) began service. 

1984

Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Mechanic Donald McKay in recognition of the courage, seamanship and tenacity displayed by him when the lifeboat rescued the crew of three and saved a 28ft salmon coble in a north-westerly gale and a rough sea on 25 June.

1988

Adaptation work carried out in order to accommodate the Tyne class lifeboat. This included additions to the bilge ways, modifications to the boarding arrangements and the installation of a new 1,000 gallon fuel storage tank.

1989

Crewroom and toilet facilities were constructed in the boathouse.

1991

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain Walter McLeod McPhee in recognition of his high standard of leadership and seamanship, when the lifeboat Norman Salvesen (ON1121) under his command assisted the P&O Ferry St Rognvald on 5 March. The ferry had suffered weather damage and was circling to port off Duncansby Head without compass or steering. For nine hours in storm force conditions, the lifeboat provided guidance and local knowledge to the acting master of the disabled ferry until temporary repairs had been made and she was safely escorted into Sinclair Bay.

1992

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to Coxswain Walter McLeod McPhee and Acting Second Coxswain Ian Alexander Cormack for the rescue of the two crew of the fishing vessel Wave Dancer, which ran aground and subsequently sank two miles north of Wick in rough seas on 11 May. Coxswain McPhee skilfully manoeuvred the lifeboat Norman Salvesen amongst rocks and debris to reach the vessel and Acting Second Coxswain Ian Cormack, manned the X boat, and with determination successfully rescued the two crew from the sea after their fishing vessel sank.

1994

The lifeboat was placed on moorings in the inner harbour.

1997

Following a decision to place the lifeboat afloat at Wick, it became necessary to provide adequate shore facilities for the lifeboat crew.  A suitable site was located adjacent to the Ice Plant on the jetty between the inner and outer harbours and proposals were subsequently drawn up.  These proposals were approved and work commenced on the new shore facility in January and were completed in August.

The new Trent class lifeboat Roy Barker II (ON1224) was placed on service 13 February 1997. This lifeboat was funded by the bequest of Roy Barker. Lifeboat Norman Salvesen (ON1121) has been withdrawn.

1998

Commemorative Vellum to mark the 150th anniversary of the station awarded.

2009

A pontoon berth was constructed at a total cost of £270,000.

MEDAL RECORD

Eight Medals have been awarded to the men of Wick.  Six silver and two bronze the last being voted in 1984.

FOREIGN AWARDS

In 1956 the King of Norway’s Silver Medal for Heroism awarded to Coxswain N Stewart for assistance to ss Dovrefjell in February 1955.