Detective work by Ramsgate RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI’s lifeboats both inshore and all weather, are by their nature sturdy and built to last so once they have completed their service at our Lifeboat stations that will not be the end of their life

two inshore lifeboats in the sea.

RNLI/Louise Cortez-Bosch

the boat in the forground was Bob Turnbull, check the underside for the RNLI logo.

Tracking down where they are now can be a difficult job but luckily Ramsgate RNLI station has a budding detective in the shape of Sarah Hewes, our Fundraising Chairman and she has been on the case tracing Ramsgate’s past lifeboats.


The story of Inshore Lifeboat Atlantic 75 B Class, B-765, started when RNLI supporter Bob Turnbull left a legacy in his will. The brand new boat was delivered to Ramsgate in 2000 and as is tradition a naming ceremony was held on 9 September at 3pm in the presence of Mrs Jane Turnbull, Bob’s widow, and Sir John James KCBO, the Deputy Chairman of the RNLI.
Sir John delivered it into the care of Ramsgate RNLI, which was accepted on Ramsgate’s behalf by Captain Geoffrey Tully who was the Hon. Sec. of Ramsgate RNLI at the time.


The Bob Turnbull B-765 was active at Ramsgate from 2000 until 2014 when it was replaced by an updated boat, the Claire and David Delves Atlantic 85 which is being used by our volunteer crew at this present time.
At the end of its career in Ramsgate Inshore Lifeboat Bob Turnbull was returned to the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole, in Dorset in preparation to be sold but not before her name plates were removed and kept at the Ramsgate RNLI station in memory of her service.
She was bought by Botes Salvavidas for Valparaiso which is an Emergency Rescue Service based in Valparaiso in Chile South America, run similarly to our own RNLI relying on legacies and donations from the public. And so began the second part of her life saving career.
B-765 was shipped to Chile in the company of a West Mersea Lifeboat, a B-761 called Dignity. On arrival both boats were overhauled with their engines replaced and all identifying marks removed, or so they thought. By mistake the RNLI logo was left on the hull of Bill Turnbull so she still remains identifiable as can be seen in the image if you look closely.

The story doesn’t end there!
A couple of years ago the Manager of Broadstairs RNLI Kiosk Jean Hefford happened to be on holiday in Chile. Sarah had asked her to keep an eye out for the boats and it happened that Jean was having a meal in a restaurant above the station so managed to take some photos. On her return home she sent the Captain of the station Louis Cortez-Bosch keyrings and postcards of Bob Turnbull as a thank you as it was he who kindly sent Sarah the photographs of the lifeboats. The lifeboats are now renamed as BS-R11 for Bill Turnbull and BS-R10 for Dignity.

B5-R11 is now part of a larger fleet, joining an all weather Mersea previously from Scarborough RNLI as well as the other Atlantic B5-R10 plus other non RNLI ribs. She maybe a distance from home but it is lovely to see her continuing her work of saving lives at sea.


Karen Cox LPO Ramsgate RNLI email coxinthebox63@gmail.com tel 07779848431

Paul Dunt RNLI Regional Media Officer London and South East email paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk tel 07785296252

inshore life boat

RNLI/Louis Cortez- Bosch

Bob Turnbull with Valparaiso in the background.
A commerative leaflet.

RNLI/Karen Cox

Comemorative booklet for Bob Turnbull naming ceremony.

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.

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