Station history

When it was decided to place a motor lifeboat at the west end of the Isle of Wight, Yarmouth was chosen in place of Totland Bay, where the Institution had maintained a station since 1885, owing to the difficulty of launching a motor lifeboat at Totland Bay.

The first lifeboat was named by the Duke of Windsor, then Prince of Wales.

1839

Gold Medal awarded to Lt H A S Symmes, RN, for rescuing the master and eight men from the French Brig Claire in Freshwater Bay on 29 November 1838.

1849

Silver Medal to John Pepper, Chief Boatman, Coastguard, Hurst Castle, for rescue of six from brig Love and Unity wrecked at The Needles on 19 April 1849.

1920

Awarded the Gold Pendant to each of four boys who saved the crew of three of yacht Penguin which capsized and sank in Boulder Bight, Yarmouth, on 26 August 1919.

1924

The Station at Yarmouth was opened with a new lifeboat the B.A.S.P. (ON687) at a cost of £7,500.

1926

Mr J J Coates, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and his wife, were landed from HMS Westminster on 30 October. Lord Jellicoe went out in the lifeboat.

1934

Hearts of Oak (ON684) arrived in Yarmouth and was the first diesel lifeboat to go on service at a cost of £8,700.

1936

Yarmouth lifeboat S.G.E. (ON787) was fitted with twin diesel engines and a radio telephone. This lifeboat was destroyed by fire in June 1937 when being overhauled at a building yard in Cowes. Hearts of Oak returned to service until 1938, until a new lifeboat retaining the name S.G.E (ON804) was built at a cost of £8,300.

1939

A Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Walter O Cotton for skill and endurance for the rescue of the crew of 12 of a trawler on Naval Service which had run ashore off Brighstone in a west-south-westerly gale and a heavy sea on the night of 14 November 1939.

1952

Captain A G Cole RNR, was elected an honorary life-governor of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution on his retirement after 18 years as honorary secretary of the station and before that a member of the branch committee.

1963

The Earl and Countess Howe lifeboat (ON968) at a cost of £40,000, began service at Yarmouth was exhibited at the International Lifeboat Conference held in Edinburgh from 4-6 June 1963. She was the first lifeboat to be fitted with radar and remained in service until 1977 (and is now on display at the RNLI Depot in Poole).

1964

D class lifeboat sent to station in July.

1966

Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, Captain the Hon V M Wyndham-Quin RN, were sent to Dr Harrison Broadbent and the crew of the inshore lifeboat Christopher and John Cook in recognition of their attempt to save the life of a man who had fallen over the cliff at Scratchells Bay on 10 April.

1976

A Silver Medal for gallantry awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic David Kennett for the rescue of the crew of five of the yacht Chayka of Ardgour which was in difficulties approximately 14 miles south of The Needles in a northerly storm force wind, a very rough confused sea, a heavy swell and torrential rain on 14 September 1975. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to the other members of the lifeboat crew. For this service Coxswain/Mechanic David Kennett also received the Maud Smith award for the bravest act of life-saving carried out by a member of a lifeboat crew in 1975 and also a monetary award from the James Michael Bower Endowment Fund.

The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Acting Coxswain John C Cook in recognition of the determination and seamanship displayed by him when the lifeboat rescued the sole occupant of the yacht Snowgoose in distress three miles west of The Needles in a strong south-south-westerly gale and a very rough sea on 5 October.

1977

Joy and John Wade (ON1053) replaced the Earl and Countess Howe.

1978

Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution awarded to crew members Stuart Pimm and Richard Downes in recognition of their commendable action on 3 July when they manned the inflatable dinghy carried aboard the lifeboat and in a gale force west by southerly wind and a rough sea transferred a line and made it fast to the semi-submerged yacht Turpina which was then taken in tow. Letters of Appreciation signed by the Director were sent to Coxswain/Mechanic David Kennett and the other members of the crew.

D Class lifeboat permanently withdrawn from station on 31 October.

1988

Improved crew facilities were provided in the boatstore. This included a storage area, kitchen, toilet/washing area and a separate room for the storage of souvenirs.

1990

A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain David Kennett for exemplary boathandling skills and seamanship, when two members of the crew were rescued from the RoRo cargo vessel Al Kwather 1 which was in difficulties some three miles south of Peveril Point in a westerly storm force wind and a heavy breaking sea on 28/29 October 1989. Framed Chairman's letters were awarded to Assistant Mechanic Brian Miskin and crew member Joseph Lester. This was a joint service with the Swanage lifeboat, Coxswain Christopher Haw was accorded the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum.

1994

In January the Institution purchased the freehold title of the Customs House, Quay Street, Yarmouth. Refurbishment and alteration work was carried out. These works included the removal of the external chimney plus the installation of internal partitioning to provide on the ground floor, a crew changing room, souvenir sales outlet, workshop, shower and toilet. On the first floor – crew facilities.

2000

New alongside berth completed.

2001

Eric and Susan Hiscock (ON1249), a 1.8m Severn class lifeboat, comes into service.

MEDAL RECORD

Five Medals have been awarded, one Gold, two Silver and two Bronze, the last being voted in 1990.