Past station projects

Done and dusted! There's nothing like seeing a lifeboat station project come to fruition.

With 94% of our total income coming from donations and legacies, these essential lifesaving works have largely been funded by the generosity of people like you.

Take a look at just some of the major lifeboat station alteration and construction projects we have completed at our lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, thanks to your support.

Torbay Lifeboat Station project: A replacement pontoon berth

Torbay Crew Members John Ashford and Richard Fowler walking down the original pontoon with their Severn class lifeboat, Alec and Christina Dykes 17-28, in the background

Year of completion

2016

About the station project

Torbay RNLI’s Severn class all-weather lifeboat, Alec and Christina Dykes 17-28, lies afloat moored to the station’s pontoon berth, ready to respond quickly to emergencies at sea.

When Torbay lifeboat volunteers began experiencing problems with lateral movement of the pontoon when boarding the lifeboat, work was required to improve the stability of the structure and ensure the safety of the crew.

The original pontoon berth was replaced with a new pontoon secured with piles which, along with improved fendering, has enhanced the berthing facilities for the Severn class lifeboat. These improvements have also made mooring the lifeboat easier and safer for Torbay volunteers, particularly in poor weather conditions.

The access bridge to the pontoon was refurbished and repainted, providing safe and easy access to the lifeboat for the crew.

These important improvements to the pontoon will enable our volunteer crew to work even more safely and to continue the RNLI's vital lifesaving work.

Southend-on-Sea Lifeboat Station project: B class boathouse extension

Southend-on-Sea RNLI’s B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat, Vic and Billie Whiffen B-776, being launched from the boathouse via the davit system

Year of completion

2016

About the station project

Southend-on-Sea is one of only three of our lifeboat stations where the inshore B class Atlantic lifeboat is launched out of the boathouse transversely and lowered into the sea via a davit system– Ramsgate and Kinsale are the others.  

The boathouse located on the Pier Deck of Southend Pier was originally designed for the station’s B class Atlantic 21, Percy Garon B-527. 

When she was replaced in 2001 by the slightly longer Atlantic 75, Vic and Billie Whiffen B-776, the boathouse was able to accommodate the new lifeboat. 

But the latest third generation B class Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Julia and Angus Wright B-885,  was too long so the door opening of the boathouse was widened to make room for the new lifeboat and the space required for a safe launch and recovery. 

In addition, the apron outside the boathouse was considered too narrow for safe circulation around the lifeboat. So an extension to the side of the Pier Deck was constructed and this has also allowed a stairway to be introduced, making boarding and disembarkation safer for the crew compared to the original vertical ladder.

Aberdovey Lifeboat Station project: B class boathouse extension

Aberdovey Lifeboat station in 2011
Year of completion

2016

About the station project

With the arrival of Aberdovey RNLI’s new inshore B class Atlantic 85 lifeboat, the boathouse needed to be extended to house the longer lifeboat and her launch and recovery tractor.

Storing the lifeboat with her launch and recovery equipment will improve launch times, saving vital seconds when lives are at risk at sea.

As part of the extension, the crew are now benefitting from improved modern facilities too.

Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station project: Shannon class boathouse extension

The official opening of the refurbished Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station at the naming ceremony of the station’s new all-weather Shannon class lifeboat, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation 13-09

Year of completion

2015

About the station project

Ilfracombe was one of our first stations to receive a brand new all-weather Shannon class lifeboat when their much-loved Mersey class lifeboat, the Spirit of Derbyshire 12-007, reached the end of her operational life.

The Shannon is 50% faster than her predecessor with a maximum speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are on the line.

The existing boathouse at Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station was too small to accommodate the station’s new Shannon, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation 13-09, and her innovative launch and recovery equipment. So it was extended and now provides a secure weather-proof haven for the all-weather lifeboat.

Other improvements made to the lifeboat station as part of the extension include:

  • an extended crew room
  • a larger crew kit room to combine the all-weather and inshore lifeboat equipment
  • a bigger mechanic’s workshop
  • and a purpose-built office for administration and communications.

And so begins a new era in lifesaving at sea for the community of Ilfracombe

Speaking at the naming ceremony for their Shannon class lifeboat and the official opening of their refurbished lifeboat station in June 2015, Ilfracombe Lifeboat Operations Manager Chris Wallis said:

'With all of the preparation work that has been done, all the hours that our volunteers have given to their intensive training, and having had the lifeboat officially go on service last week, I did not expect to be as moved as I was.

'Being tasked with the care of this amazing equipment is a huge honour, and I know that every member of our team feels the same.

'Now that the Shannon is officially on service, and is in our care, we will begin the next chapter in Ilfracombe RNLI’s history.

Portishead Lifeboat Station project: New inshore lifeboat station

The official opening of the new RNLI Portishead Lifeboat Station with the lifeboat crew in their B class Atlantic 85 lifeboat, My Lady Anne B-884

Year of completion

2015

About the station project

Dedicated volunteer lifeboat crews have run their own independent lifesaving service at Portishead since 1967.

Over the years committed crew members of the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat, which was run and maintained by The Portishead Lifeboat Trust (TPLT), have saved many lives and assisted hundreds of people who might have got into a more serious situation, had the lifeboat not responded so promptly and effectively.

In 2015, the RNLI adopted the independent lifeboat service from The Portishead Lifeboat Trust and construction of the new inshore lifeboat station was completed.

Situated on the site of a former Masonic Lodge near Portishead Quays Marina, the new RNLI Portishead Lifeboat Station is operational 24/7 with no launch restrictions, unlike the previous station at Sugar Loaf Beach.

The purpose-built station provides much-improved modern facilities for the crew and is operated by the same volunteers who previously ran the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat.

The station operates an inshore B class Atlantic 85 lifeboat called My Lady Anne B-884.

Working in tandem with RNLI lifeboats at Burnham-on-Sea, Weston-super-Mare, Penarth and Barry Dock, the stations provide a chain of safety around the Severn Estuary.

The station has come a long way in a very short space of time and that’s testament to the volunteers and their positive and proactive attitude during a time of considerable change.

Paul Eastment - RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, Porthcawl Crew Member and Flood Rescue Team Member

Enniskillen Lifeboat Station project: A second inshore lifeboat station


Year of completion

2015

About the station project

Enniskillen became home to our first non-tidal inland lifeboat station in 2001 based at Killadeas on Lough Erne – the second biggest lake in the UK.

Because of the lake’s size, complexity and high leisure use, it was decided in 2002 to base a second inshore B class Atlantic lifeboat at Carrybridge on Upper Lough Erne to operate alongside the lifeboat stationed at Lower Lough Erne.

It’s hard to believe that until 2015, our dedicated volunteer crew based at Upper Lough Erne were operating out of a temporary shed-like facility, partly exposed to the elements.

The crew had to change in a small, damp, metal container with only a Portaloo and wash basin as their comforts. There was nowhere for the crew to shower or dry after a challenging rescue and nowhere for them to gather and train together.

Now their new modern lifeboat station with full crew facilities has made a world of difference.

The eco-friendly station has a ground source heat pump which draws heat from the ground to heat the building, keeping the temperature inside at an ambient 15ºC. The excess heat is stored in a hot water cylinder, providing hot water for showering, washing up and cleaning the lifeboats. The building is also fitted with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.

The new station is testament to the RNLI’s commitment and dedication to the community here locally and a credit to our crews’ efforts in continuing to bring people to safety on Lough Erne. Our volunteers are overwhelmed with the structure and facilities that they now have when they come together for call-outs and training. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us to get to this stage including all those who donated, organised or participated in any fundraising activity.

Moelfre Lifeboat Station project: New Tamar class boathouse and slipway

Moelfre RNLI’s former all-weather Tyne class lifeboat, Robert and Violet 47-013, launching from the former lifeboat station
Year of completion

2015

About the station project

At over 100 years old, Moelfre RNLI’s former lifeboat station was too old to withstand the extensions needed to accommodate their new all-weather Tamar class lifeboat, Kiwi 16-25.

Conditions at the former station were dated and cramped. Access to the crew room was via a steep ladder and the crew had no dedicated changing or drying room. Their kit was kept in the garage housing their inshore D class lifeboat, Enfys D-689, where it often remained damp and cold until the next shout.

The new station now houses the station’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats and has a mechanic’s workshop and modern changing facilities for the crew including a drying room for kit and a hot shower.

With the station office, crew training room, meeting area and visitor facilities based at the RNLI Seawatch Centre 150 yards away, the size of the new lifeboat station was reduced, saving a significant amount in building costs.

The life expectancy of the Tamar class lifeboat is 50 years and the station life is over 100 years. This opens a new chapter in the proud lifesaving history of the Moelfre RNLI Lifeboat Station and I am honoured to be here to witness it.

Harwich Lifeboat Station project: Replacement pontoon berth

Harwich Lifeboat Station with the station’s all-weather Severn class lifeboat moored alongside in 2009
Year of completion

2014

About the station project

Lying opposite Felixstowe, the UK’s busiest commercial port, Harwich is one of our busiest coastal lifeboat stations.

It was the first station to receive our largest lifeboat, the Severn, back in 1996 and the all-weather lifeboat, Albert Brown 17-03, lies afloat on a mooring alongside the station allowing for a fast response to emergencies at sea.

The Severn’s pontoon berth was installed in 2004 and needed replacing.

The new pontoon berth is orientated differently to provide better protection of the lifeboat in bad weather and making it easier to release the lifeboat from her berth in such conditions.

With periodic maintenance to prevent corrosion of the pontoon’s steel structures, the main pontoon construction should last in excess of 50 years.

Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Station project: New Tamar class boathouse and slipway

Porthdinllaen Coxswain Mike Davies
Year of completion

2014

About the station project

At over 120 years old, Porthdinllaen RNLI’s former lifeboat station on the Llyn Peninsula was too old to sustain the work required to house the station’s new Tamar class lifeboat, John D Spicer 16-24.

The dated crew facilities were separate from the station, located a short distance away up a hill, and lacked space for essential kit and maintenance.

There was no dedicated changing area either so the crew were getting into their kit on the lifeboat deck, even in the middle of Winter.

So the station was demolished to make way for a new modern station and slipway with vastly improved facilities for the crew.

The crew now benefit from a proper changing room with hot shower and a drying room for their kit. Other facilities include a crew training room, mechanic’s workshop and a public viewing gallery.

It has been a challenging 18 months maintaining business as usual whilst operating out of temporary accommodation. But seeing John D Spicer safely housed in her new home has made everything worthwhile and is the culmination of a long project and the realisation of a dream for us. I cannot praise our crew enough for their commitment and dedication during this transition period.

The Mumbles Lifeboat Station project: New Tamar class boathouse and slipway

Construction of The Mumbles new Tamar class boathouse and slipwayThe Mumbles RNLI’s Tamar class lifeboat, Roy Barker IV 16-27, launching down the slipway of the new boathouseThe Mumbles RNLI’s new Tamar class lifeboat station alongside the former lifeboat station
Year of completion

2014

About the station project

Before The Mumbles RNLI could receive their new all-weather Tamar class lifeboat, Roy Barker IV 16-27, a new boathouse and slipway needed to be built to protect, house and launch her.

At 90 years old, the station’s former boathouse was in desperate need of modernisation and was too old and too small to accommodate the larger lifeboat.

The new boathouse and slipway sits in the footprint of Mumbles Pier and was a key feature of a joint regeneration and restoration project for the 113-year-old structure, which has listed status.

Facilities for the crew are much improved: they no longer have to change into their lifesaving kit from the small deck of their former Tyne class lifeboat and endure cold, cramped conditions.

They now have a proper changing room and a shower to warm up after a tiring rescue. There is a mechanic’s workshop, an RNLI souvenir shop and a public gallery so that visitors can view the lifeboat.

The crew training room, meeting area, welfare facilities and office remain in the separate inshore lifeboat building nearby.

The support we have received from the people of south Wales has been fantastic, from people putting their spare change into collection boxes to those taking part in events. Every penny is so very much appreciated.