Swanage Lifeboat Station project

A new boathouse at Swanage will not only provide modern facilities for the crew, but will protect, house and launch their new Shannon class lifeboat.
Swanage Lifeboat Station project
Computer-generated image of the new Swanage Lifeboat Station at Peveril Point

What’s needed:

A new Shannon class boathouse and slipway


Swanage Lifeboat Station


Planned for completion in 2016

Here’s why …

The courageous history of RNLI Swanage began in 1875 when the brig Wild Wave was wrecked, sparking an urgent call for a dedicated lifeboat service on that stretch of coastline.

Although the lifeboat station built all those years ago at Peveril Point has served the crew well, it doesn’t provide the comfort the crew deserve. Such as a shower to change after a tiring rescue, or dedicated training space in which they can hone their crucial lifesaving skills.

The boathouse and slipway are nearing the end of their operational lives, as is the station’s much-loved all-weather Mersey class lifeboat, the Robert Charles Brown 12-23.

Swanage lifeboat volunteers gathered together on the slipway of the current lifeboat station for a training exercise

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

Swanage lifeboat volunteers gathered together on the slipway of the current lifeboat station for a training exercise.

So a new lifeboat station is needed, not only to provide modern facilities for the crew, but to protect, house and launch the revolutionary all-weather Shannon class lifeboat which is due to replace the station’s Mersey. Designed entirely in-house by our naval architects, the Shannon has a maximum speed of 25 knots in fair weather, making her 50% faster than her predecessor – a crucial factor when lives are at risk.

We’re looking forward to an exciting new stage in the long and rich history of lifesaving in Swanage.

A station fit for the 21st century

The new lifeboat station will stand in exactly the same place as the old station. As well as housing the new Shannon class lifeboat, it will house the station’s inshore D class lifeboat and provide much improved crew facilities including:

  • showers with a changing and drying room
  • fully-equipped crew training room
  • mechanic’s workshop
  • office space for communications and administration.

The building will utilise the latest sustainable eco-friendly technology including a ground source heat recovery system. And there will be a small souvenir shop for visitors, who can expect an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Swanage lifeboat volunteers will operate out of temporary facilities for the duration of the building works, which are expected to last 18 months. But once built, the new lifeboat station will serve generations of lifesavers and the community of Swanage for at least the next 80 years.

What a new station means to the crew and community

There’s no pretending that the next 18 months are going to be easy,’ says Swanage Lifeboat Operations Manager Neil Hardy. ‘The demands on the Coxswain and volunteer crew are going to be enormous and I thank them in advance for their patience and goodwill.

'But we will come out of the project with a superb new lifeboat station that will be a delight to the RNLI team here and a vital investment for the future of the RNLI in Swanage.'

Swanage Lifeboat Operations Manager Neil Hardy

Photo: Nigel Millard

Swanage Lifeboat Operations Manager Neil Hardy

A lifesaving tradition

When we answered that urgent call for a dedicated lifeboat service at Swanage in the wake of the Wild Wave disaster, ancestors of Neil Hardy were there to help lay the first bricks of the boathouse.

Flash forward over 140 years and Neil has continued his family’s links with RNLI Swanage by committing the last 30 years of his life to the station.

Now Lifeboat Operations Manager, Neil is part of the 34-strong volunteer crew who continue Swanage’s brave lifesaving tradition.

All are looking forward to welcoming the Shannon and operating from a modern lifeboat station equipped for the 21st century.

We’re looking forward to an exciting new stage in the long and rich history of lifesaving in Swanage’, says Neil. ‘The lifeboat is thought of very highly in the community. We often have people coming down to watch our training launches.

Naturally we’ll be sad to say goodbye to the current boathouse, but it’s time to look to the future and the modern and upgraded facilities the new building will provide for the volunteer crew. It is going to mean a great deal as it will see us through for years to come.

You can follow the progress of Swanage RNLI’s new Shannon class lifeboat station on the station’s blog.

How you can help

With 94% of our total income coming from generous donations and legacies, we depend on our dedicated volunteers and supporters to continue saving lives at sea.

The fundraising never stops. Our lifeboat crews have a team of fundraising volunteers behind them, all working tirelessly to raise essential lifesaving funds for their stations and lifeboats to keep their communities as safe as possible.

If you’d like to support them and help fund our search and rescue service, including lifeboat station projects such as this one, please donate today.