Cowes lifeboat station receives Princess Royal
Anne, Princess Royal, included a visit to Cowes RNLI lifeboat station today (6 Aug) as part of her official two-day visit to the Isle of Wight.
The princess’s visit coincided with the annual Cowes Week regatta, an event at which she was once, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, a regular participant.
She was accompanied on the visit by her husband, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, who is an RNLI Trustee and Chairman of the charity’s Operations Committee. The princess’s own present-day maritime links include being President of the Royal Yachting Association and Chairman of the Trinity House Board.
She spent some time at the Cowes lifeboat station, which five years ago became the only RNLI station to ever be opened by the Queen. The princess was greeted at the station by the Island’s Lord Lieutenant, Major General Martin White.
After meeting crew members and other station members outside the Boathouse, beside the Atlantic 85 RIB ‘Sheena Louise’, she was escorted by Operations Manager Mark Southwell to the first floor; there she chatted to crew member Laura Hodd and members of the station’s Visits Team and had an inter-active screen explained to her by Mark and Harry Leslie, a Deputy Launch Authority at the station and a communications advisor to the RNLI.
She also spoke to young members of the Face to Face team, brought in from the RNLI’s Poole headquarters to explain to Cowes Week visitors how the RNLI operates.
After she and her husband signed the visitors book they went to the balcony to watch the lifeboat being launched on its trolley.
The royal couple then went aboard an all-weather Shannon lifeboat, moored alongside the neighbouring Island Sailing Club pontoon, to continue their RNLI involvement by going up the River Medina to tour the East Cowes-based Inshore Lifeboat Centre.
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.