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Happy 200th Birthday RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Today, Monday (4 March 2024) the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will celebrate 200 years of saving lives at sea – thanks to volunteers, like those at Moelfre lifeboat station, giving their time to save others, all funded by voluntary public donations.


Lifeboat ON325 Star of Hope. The boat was stationed here 1892-1910.
Sir William Hillary’s vision for a service dedicated to saving lives at sea became a reality in Bishopsgate’s trendy City of London Tavern on 4 March 1824.

Moelfre lifeboat station may not be the oldest station in the RNLI history books, but we certainly have left our mark and will continue doing so with your support.
The crew of Moelfre have been awarded 37 medals. Four Gold, Seven Silver and 26 Bronze, the last awards voted in 1967.

Moelfre lifeboat station was originally formed by the Anglesey County Association. A new lifeboat was sent to the station in 1854, being built at the joint expense of the RNLI and local associations.

Moelfre lifeboat was established in 1848, moving to a new boathouse at Porth Neigwl in 1875. A slipway was added in 1893 to make launching easier. The current boathouse and slipway were built in 1909, and rebuilt at a cost of £10m in readiness for the new Tamar-class lifeboat, which arrived on station March 4th, 2013. The lifeboat was named Kiwi in honour of benefactor Reginald James Clark, a New Zealander who was rescued by a lifeboat after his ship was torpedoed in the Second World War.

In 1901 a silver medal was awarded to second coxswain Richard Owen, who couldn’t swim, for his courage in jumping overboard to disentangle a net fouling the lifeboat’s rudder.
The great gales of October 1927 brought tragedy to the station after the heroic rescue of three men from a wrecked ketch. The lifeboat had to sail over the top of the ketch’s hull to reach the men. It was badly damaged but remained afloat thanks to its air cases. Two men, including crew member William Roberts, died on board the lifeboat. A gold medal was awarded to second coxswain William Roberts – who could not see anything for several hours after the rescue because the wind had blown so much salt into his eyes. Another gold medal went to crew member Captain Owen Jones, and 13 Bronze Medals were awarded for the same rescue.

In 1961 the Queen presented Silver Sea gallantry medals at Buckingham Palace to the five crew members who had managed to rescue all crewmen from the wrecked freighter Hindlea in seemingly impossible conditions. The coxswain was Richard Evans, who amassed two gold medals, a bronze medal and the British Empire Medal for his lifeboat exploits. A statue near the lifeboat station commemorates him.

An inshore lifeboat station was established in 1965 with a D-class lifeboat.

The lifeboat service in the UK is provided not by the government but by the RNLI, a charity that relies on public donations. Since it was established in 1824, the RNLI is estimated to have saved over 146,000 lives. It employs some crew members, but most, 40,000, are volunteers who leave their work, families or beds whenever their lifeboat is needed.

For further information, please contact Phil Williams, Moelfre Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07773 979910,


The old boathouse at Porth Neigwl.

RNLI/Phil Williams

Our current boathouse overlooked by the statue of Dic Evans

RNLI/Phil Williams

Our all-weather lifeboat 'Kiwi' and ILB, Enfys 2 on the water.

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.