Salcombe RNLI crew re-enact launch from South Sands as part of station’s 150th

Lifeboats News Release

A team of Salcombe RNLI volunteers will be re-enacting a shout from 150 years ago as part of their anniversary celebrations.

Ten members of the volunteer lifeboat crew at Salcombe RNLI will be running the 1.5mile route from the current Salcombe Station to the original Lifeboat Station at South Sands on Saturday 15 June, as their predecessors would have done when the maroons signalled that the lifeboat needed to be launched.

In 1869 the Earl of Devon presented the site for a boathouse at South Sands for Salcombe RNLI. The High Sherriff of Devon Richard Durant Esq provided the funds for both the lifeboat and the building. For 52 years, the lifeboat was stationed at South Sands, approximately 1.5 miles from Salcombe. Every time the maroon was fired to signal the lifeboat was needed, the crew would leave their families and run the challenging route to the lifeboat station, before readying the boat for service and rowing her out to sea.

Sam Viles, Salcombe RNLI station mechanic, said: ‘The crew of the lifeboat 150 years ago were certainly fit and had to stay that way, running to the lifeboat station before launching the boat and rowing out to sea in often challenging conditions off the beach. It’s amazing to think how much has changed and how fortunate we are now, responding to emergencies in a modern, fast lifeboat with fantastic kit from a central boathouse focal point.

‘So as a tribute to our predecessors, 10 of our crew including myself will be retracing their steps and re-enacting a ‘launch’. I’m sure we wont find it easy but it will certainly open our eyes to the bravery and dedication our ancestors devoted to saving lives at sea.’

The lifeboat crew will be setting off from Custom House at 10.30am, when a maroon will be fired. On arriving in South Sands, the crew will then row back round into the harbour in gigs provided by Salcombe Estuary Rowing Club.

The station is hosting a weekend of events from 14 to 16 June as part of their 150th anniversary celebrations. Approximately nine historic lifeboats will be on display to the public across the weekend, with an opportunity for people to have a look onboard alongside Normandy pontoon. At 7pm on Friday, Roger Barrett will be giving a talk on the station history at Salcombe Yacht Club.

Then on Saturday evening there will be a barbecue at the yacht club – tickets are available at

On Sunday 16th there will be dinghy racing with entrance fees donated to the RNLI, followed by a Fathers’ Day lunch from 1pm to 3pm in the yacht club

Notes to editors

· Media opportunities are available for the re-enactment run. Please contact Emma/David on the numbers below to make arrangements

· Salcombe RNLI is organising a host of events to celebrate its 150th anniversary this year. The culmination of these is a big weekend of celebrations on 20-22 September. This includes a Yellow Welly Big Bash at Salcombe Rugby Club, the unveiling of two commemorative sculptures, a reception, church service and parade. Please contact Emma or David below for more information.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Emma Haines, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07786 668847 or [email protected] or David Dancox, volunteer Salcombe RNLI lifeboat press officer, on 07720 772227

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 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.

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