Former Whitstable Lifeboat Helmsman Vic Davis

Lifeboats News Release

Whitstable lifeboat station has been saddened to hear of the passing of Vic Davis who was one of those recruited by Barry Hardy when the station was founded in 1963.

Vic Davis, founder member, former helmsman and treasurer at Whitstable Lifeboat.
Vic Davis, founder member, former helmsman and treasurer at Whitstable Lifeboat.
His nephew Keith writes: Victor (Vic) Davis, formerly of Laxton Way, Chestfield, who died on the 1st December 2022, was well known from the late 1940’s to 1980’s around the town because of his association with Whitstable’s fishing industry, its harbour and Whitstable lifeboat station.
He first began his employment being mentored by Ernie Hoy as a mate in the late 1940’s, shrimping at Leigh On Sea before moving with Ernie to Whitstable and fishing from Whitstable Harbour. Not long after, they were active in assisting rescues during the 1953 flooding crisis. Vic progressed on to his own trawler boat, Mullard F19 and also later added other boats to his fleet, the Ticino F44, Tykela F26, and Shaena, HH36. Diversifying his business, he also took fish from other boats and established Quayfish fish merchants at the harbour, later Ross Fishery.
During the mid-1960’s he became tender to Radio 390, taking out provisions, records and personnel to the offshore pirate radio station. His exploits reached national news when trawling up a 2nd World War bomb and at other times bits of German bomber aircraft. On several occasions he acted as escort and tender for channel swimmers.
Vic was a founder member of Whitstable RNLI station in 1963 along with some of the other local fishing skippers, initially as helmsman, taking on the role also of Treasurer.
Victor Davis was married to Joyce Davis nee Silk whose last days were spent as a resident of Chestfield House Nursing Home, Chestfield. Victor died on 1 December 2022 at Hawkinge Care Centre, Hawkinge, Kent
Whitstable Lifeboat Operations Manager Mike Judge said “The station is always saddened to hear of the passing of one of its founding members and Vic was one of the few left from that group of what were in some respects pioneers. The 'D' Class inflatable lifeboat that was issued to Whitstable was, at the time, a completely new concept for the RNLI and the local fishermen and dockers had to quickly adapt to this much livelier boat. Vic brought his seamanship skills to the boat and later, his business acumen to be the station treasurer. Our condolences are offered to the family on behalf of the RNLI”.
His funeral will be on Wednesday 4th January 2023 at All Saints Church, Whitstable at 12.00pm and onward at The Barn, Chestfield. Donations to Whitstable RNLI.


Notes to editors

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station was established in 1963 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and is one of 237 lifeboat stations around the shores of the UK and Ireland. The volunteer crews provide a maritime search and rescue service for the Kent coast. They cover the area between the Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, in the west, around the south-eastern side of Sheppey and along the coast through Whitstable and Herne Bay to Reculver in the east and outwards into the Thames Estuary.

The station is equipped with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat named Lewisco, purchased through a bequest of a Miss Lewis of London who passed away in 2006.

She is what is known as a rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, the boat’s rigid hull being topped by an inflatable sponson. She carries a crew of four people.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Davey, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Whitstable Lifeboat Station.
    07741 012004/ [email protected]

  • Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer London/southeast/east Tel: 0207 6207416 Mob: (07785) 296252 [email protected]

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789


Whitstable harbour in the 1960's
Whitstable harbour in the 1960's
Vic Davis was helmsman at Whitstable Lifeboat in it's early day's.

RNLI Whitstable.

Vic Davis was helmsman at Whitstable Lifeboat in it's early day's.

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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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