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Dungeness RNLI mourns the devastating loss of much-loved Coxswain Stuart Adams

Lifeboats News Release

The flags at RNLI lifeboat stations around the south east coast sit at half-staff following the passing of long-serving coxswain, Stuart Adams, after a short illness. He died peacefully with his family at his side on Saturday 8 July.

Noel Packer

Late Coxswain, Stuart Adams

Stuart was the backbone of the RNLI station at Dungeness, providing leadership and true friendship to all the volunteers that worked with him. He guided the volunteers through huge changes throughout his years at the charity, where he lived and breathed ‘Saving Lives at Sea’.

Stuart initially joined the RNLI as a volunteer in 1978 alongside his fellow fishermen in Dungeness. He was a keen fisherman from a young age and started commercial fishing as a full-time occupation after school, which is where he was introduced to the RNLI.

In 2000, 22 years after joining as a volunteer, Stuart became full time Coxswain of Dungeness Lifeboat, where he dedicated his life fully to the role.

The role of the Coxswain is to lead their crew whilst on the lifeboat, being responsible for the safety of the crew and those they rescue. The coxswain’s most important mission is to bring everyone home safely, but for Stuart Adams, the role was so much more.

Stuart was a confidante, a father figure, a calming influence and a figure of stability where no person felt unsafe going to sea under his command. He was highly respected by all that knew him, as well as being full of good humour. He actively ensured that the volunteers felt able to learn and was completely selfless in all of his endeavours.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Vicky Morgan, says:

‘Stuart inspired so many of the volunteers here at Dungeness with his outstanding commitment and his superb leadership. He was a humble man – never recognising his own extraordinary dedication towards the crew and the station. He was everything the RNLI stands for and was an exemplary role model for all those in the institution. He will be very sadly missed.’

In recent years, the station has become much busier dealing with small boat crossings and encountering very different scenarios when at sea, with a new set of challenges. Stuart’s sense of commitment to his crew during this time showed no bounds. His care towards his fellow crew and their wellbeing, during sometimes very difficult service calls, was of the highest degree and was always at the forefront of his mind. He encompassed the RNLI’s core value of everyone at the station being ‘One Crew’.

Recently, Stuart was awarded the RNLI’s ‘Thanks on Vellum’ for his role as Coxswain in the tragic service call involving the sinking of a small vessel in the middle of the English Channel on 14 December 2022.

Stuart leaves behind his wife Lisa, whose own dedication to the RNLI has also been remarkable as she has sacrificed many family dinners, events and social occasions in order for Stuart to do his duty as Coxswain. They have two equally dedicated children, both RNLI volunteers turned staff. Natalie went through the ranks at Dungeness as a volunteer before taking a full-time role at Gravesend Lifeboat Station as Thames Commander and now supports the lifeboat stations in the South East as an Assessor Trainer.

As the station, and the RNLI as a whole, come to terms with such a huge loss, we are guided into a new era at Dungeness by Stuart’s son Jason Adams who takes over as full time Coxswain. Jason will lead the station into the future with all the same core values as his father. The station holds the Adams family close to their heart and shows the family their support in the same way the family have supported Dungeness Lifeboat Station for decades.

They can be sure that Stuart’s legacy will live on for years to come.

A statement from Stuart’s family reads:

‘As a family, we would like to thank the station, the wider RNLI and the local community for their amazing support and gestures of kindness at this most difficult time.’

The funeral service will be held at All Saints Church, Lydd (TN29 9AJ) on Wednesday 26 July at 11.30am. In lieu of flowers, the family would like any donations to be made to Demelza House, a charity that Stuart always supported.

If you are interested in volunteering for Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station, we have a number or roles available both afloat and shore based. Please contact the station on 01797 320317 or [email protected] if you would like to take on a new challenge and become part of the charity that saves lives at sea.

Notes to Editors

· Dungeness lifeboat station has been running since 1826.

· The station received the first Shannon-class lifeboat in the RNLI fleet – The Morrell

· The station is famous for its Lady Launchers, local women and wives of the crew who helped launch the lifeboat in the 1950s.


RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Sarah Beck, Dungeness Lifeboat Press Officer on [email protected] or 07956 615429, Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 or [email protected] or alternatively, Regional Media Manager Julie Rainey on 07827 358256 or [email protected]. RNLI Press Office is available 24/7 365 days a year on 01202 336789.

Stuart with Dungeness Lifeboat

RNLI/Sarah Beck

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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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.