Salcombe appeal – 150 years of lifesaving

Our community has been counting on them for 150 years. Can they count on you to ensure their lifesaving future?

Salcombe lifeboat crew, like James, have been saving lives in and around our community for 150 years. This lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous. Our crew members are ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.

Today, please help secure the future of RNLI Salcombe for generations to come.

Smiling James Cooper, volunteer crew member at Salcombe lifeboat station and great grandson of Eddie Distin, one of only two survivors of the Salcombe lifeboat disaster in 1916.

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

James Cooper, volunteer crew member at Salcombe lifeboat station and great grandson of Eddie Distin, one of only two survivors of the Salcombe lifeboat disaster in 1916.

Salcombe lifeboat crew rescue people 24/7, 365 days of the year in their patch, which lies at the southernmost part of the rocky Devon coastline and extends from the Kingsbridge Estuary to the shipping lanes far out into the English Channel. 

They couldn’t survive without the support of people like you.

Salcombe at a glace since 1869

1,619 Launches

1,475 People assisted

526 Lives saved

150 years of saving lives

Salcombe Lifeboat Station has a remarkable history of bravery. Following the loss of 13 people in a shipwreck off Prawle Point, the need was established and the station’s first lifeboat Rescue was delivered to Salcombe via Totnes and Kingsbridge in 1869. 

In October 1916, during the Great War, the community suffered a terrible loss when the lifeboat William and Emma capsized on the Salcombe Bar after returning from a rescue mission. Thirteen lifeboat crew members made the ultimate sacrifice and were lost at sea. Eddie Distin, one of the only two survivors, later became the coxswain of Salcombe’s first motor lifeboat, the Alfred and Clara Heath

Now, Eddie’s bravery continues through his grandson, James Cooper (pictured above), who has been an active crew member at Salcombe since 2002. James and the sea-going team is supported by brave volunteers who act as shore crew, manage the station and raise funds for vital crew kit and training. Salcombe RNLI is also more than just a rescue service. They also tackle coastal safety and drowning by sharing safety knowledge with people who use the water.

Salcombe Tamar class lifeboat Baltic Exchange III 16-09 and Atlantic 75 class inshore lifeboat Joan Bate B-794.

Photo: RNLI/Chris Tizzard

Salcombe Tamar class lifeboat Baltic Exchange III 16-09 and Atlantic 75 class inshore lifeboat Joan Bate B-794.

3 ways to help

1. Raise money to help keep our lifeboat station afloat! We have loads of fundraising ideas on our website or simply donate using our online form.

2. Get involved in our local events in and around the lifeboat station. From our Historic Lifeboats Weekend to the Yellow Welly Big Bash, coffee and cake mornings to the Autumn Fair, there’s something for everyone.

3. Volunteer a lot or a little of your time. There are so many ways to help with local events, sharing prevention messaging and encouraging others to get onboard. Enquire about volunteering by sending us an email. 

Let’s celebrate 150 years of lifesaving and work together to secure the future of RNLI Salcombe for generations to come.

Thank you for your support. 

Your gift today will go towards funding Salcombe Lifeboat Station. If we raise more than £10,000, your donation will go towards funding our lifesaving work around the UK and Ireland. Thank you for your continued support and generosity.