Port Talbot RNLI lifeboats launch 50 years apart
21 May, 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the lifeboat station at Port Talbot.
On Saturday (21 May), at 3pm, Port Talbot lifeboat was launched to celebrate 50 years since the first lifeboat was launched - at the same time on 21 May 1966.
The first rescue boat, as they were called in the early days, was established in Port Talbot in 1966. This boat was a 16ft IRB inflatable, powered by a 30 HP engine. Inflatable lifeboats weren’t named at this time and were known by their numbers; in this case D-88.
The original station which was at the end of eastern end of the beach was a single concrete building, with no facilities. These were added at a later date. The crew had to rely on a local hotel which was situated on the promenade for use of their facilities; This was much appreciated by all.
For a short period of time, there was no vehicle to launch the lifeboat and crew and helpers had to pull the boat across the beach on its trailer across the water. The station was eventually extended and a local businessman donated a tractor which was used to launch.
As time passed, the lifeboat and launch facilities became more up to date. In 1998, a new station had to be built further along with seafront, due to the local council needing to improve the promenade. This station was opened in 1999 and housed a D-class lifeboat and a quad bike.
As the years, progressed, lifeboats were changed every eight years and a tractor replaced the quad as a launch vehicle. An emergency landrover was also added to the station for use during launches at alternative sites due to extreme surf conditions.
The currently lifeboat Nigel Martin Spender has been on station for the past seven years.
Mel Cooper, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer at Port Talbot says:
‘The station management and crew will be celebration the anniversary on 28 May, at a local hotel together with invited guests. Afterwards, the lifeboat will launch and will undertake a demonstration for guests and their family members, from the lifeboat station.’
For further information, please contact Mel Cooper, Lifeboat Press Officer at Port Talbot on 07814 985057.
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 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.