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Visit the RNLI historic lifeboat collection at Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent

Lifeboats News Release

Are you looking for something to do this summer holiday? Have you visited the RNLI historic lifeboat collection at Chatham Dockyard?

RNLI/Helena Lane

Royal National Lifeboat Susan Ashley, which served Sennen Cove (Cornwall) and Barry Dock (Wales) from 1948 to 1979.

Chatham Historic Dockyard houses the largest collection of historic RNLI lifeboats in the UK. These boats have collectively saved hundreds of lives, and you can go and see them up close.

The Gravesend Lifeboat Station manager and lifeboat crew member, Ian Smith, is also the RNLI historic lifeboat collection manager for Chatham Historic Dockyard.

Ian said, ‘It’s great to see the older lifeboats in the dockyard collection, and it is a reminder of how lifesaving has developed over the almost 200 years that the RNLI has been saving lives at sea.’

‘Although the technology and our boats have changed, the fact that the RNLI is made up of lifeboat crew members who are willing to go out and rescue people 24/7, 365 days a year, has not changed at all’, Ian explained, ‘and most of the crew are volunteers, who give up their time for the charity.’

Gravesend’s own lifeboat, Olive Laura Deare, which served the River Thames until 2012, is in the collection and you can learn how she got her name.

You can even get inside some of the lifeboats and get a glimpse of what it's like to be a crew member for the RNLI for yourself.

Come in and read some of the stories of the rescues these lifeboats were involved in and learn about the history of the RNLI and how it came to be what is it today: the charity that saves lives at sea and on the Thames.

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information, please contact:

Helena Lane, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Gravesend RNLI on 01474 328 465 or email [email protected]

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (London and South East), on 02076 207 425 or 07785 296 252, or email [email protected]

Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager (South East), on 07827 358 256 or email [email protected]

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected]

RNLI/Helena Lane

A view over some of the historic RNLI lifeboat collection at Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent.

RNLI/Helena Lane

The lifeboat Olive Laura Deare, which previously served Gravesend Lifeboat Station

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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