New book about the history of the RNLI Hoylake and West Kirby lifeboats

Lifeboats News Release

A new history of the Hoylake, Hilbre Island and West Kirby lifeboat stations was published today. The Hoylake lifeboat station is one of the oldest lifeboat stations in the country.

There was a good turnout of station officials, crew and supporters from both stations to celebrate the publishing of the new book which describes all the major events, rescues, lifeboats and main characters involved since the first lifeboat was built by the Liverpool Dock Trustees in 1803. The author, Nicholas Leach, signed copies of the book which includes details of the lifeboats that were stationed at Hilbre Island, which was in operation from 1848 to 1939, which was crewed from Hoylake, and the rescues they performed. It also provides a history of the West Kirby lifeboat station, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding in June 2016 and has close links with the Hoylake station. Volunteer lifeboat crew from the West Kirby station arrived with the ex-military Hagglund vehicle which is used to launch their ILB.
The lifeboat crews at both Hoylake and West Kirby have performed many outstanding rescues, some recognised by the RNLI with the award of medals for gallantry. There are accounts in the new book of all the significant rescues, as well as how technology has been used to overcome the challenge of launching lifeboats across the dangerous and challenging beaches of the Wirral Peninsula.
Author Nicholas Leach has worked with the station’s Chairman John Curry, Operations Manager Dave Whiteley and Coxswains past and present to produce this authoritative history. It will appeal all those with an interest in sea rescue, lifeboats, shipping and the maritime heritage of the River Dee, the River Mersey and the Port of Liverpool. It contains hundreds of photographs, many previously unpublished, to provide a complete record of the RNLI lifeboats of Hoylake and West Kirby.

At a short ceremony to mark the publication, John Curry told the onlookers he was delighted to see the completion of the project. He stood beside the Hoylake Lifeboat memorial to those lifeboat crew who gave their lives to save others and said; “A huge amount of effort has been put into researching this book by a dedicated team made up from past and present crew and lifeboat supporters. We owe them a debt of gratitude for seeking to put down for posterity the long and proud history of our lifeboats and the crew who served in them, whose fortitude and gallantry will never be forgotten.”

Notes to editors.
  • Hoylake Lifeboat Station has been operating since 1803 and is one of the oldest in the country. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to  or
  • Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Whiteley and Coxswain/Mechanic Andy Dodd are available for interview by arrangement.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone or email:
RNLI online
For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 139,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.


Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.