Seahouses RNLI Lifeboat Station, Seafield Road, Seahouses, Northumberland NE68 7SH. Tel: 01665 720370

Seahouses RNLI Lifeboat Station

Seahouses Lifeboat Station

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A brief history:

The station was established in 1827 but little is known of its history before it was taken over by the Institution in 1852 from Lord Crewe's trustees. Between 1827 and 1852 Seahouses had three lifeboats. Sadly, no record can be found of these boats, their crews or any rescues undertaken by the boats. The first lifeboat for which there are recorded details was delivered in 1852 and was un-named. It was a self righting boat 30 feet in length and was powered by 10 men with oars. The boat cost £150. Today's "Grace Darling" cost £455,000. Of these early years however one of the notable events was the attempt which the men of Seahouses made to rescue the survivors of the Forfarshire wrecked in 1838. Seven fishermen of Seahouses put out to the wreck only to find that the survivors had already been rescued by William Darling and Grace Darling, who set out from the lighthouse. The Lifeboat Crew actually put out in a coble, believing that they would be able to get closer to the rocks than they could with the lifeboat.

Lifeboats stationed at North Sunderland (Seahouses).

Lifeboat                                             Period                              Launches             Lives saved

A lifeboat                                    1827-1838                     No Record

(Lord Crew trustees)

A lifeboat                                    1838-1851                     No Record

(Lord Crew trustees)

A lifeboat                                    1851-1865                        1                          0

(Lord Crew trustees)

"Joseph Anstice"                           1865-1884                       17                         48

Gift of Mrs Anstice of Tynemouth.

"Thomas Bewick"                          1884-1906                       42                         44

Legacy of Miss I.Bewick of Gateshead.

"Forster Fawsett"                          1906-1925                       56                        123

Legacy of Miss T.C.Fawsett of Maidenhead.

"Lizzie Porter"                              1925-1936                        21                          0

Legacy of Miss E.Porter, of Halifax.

"W.R.A."                                      1936-1954                       56                          44

Legacies of Miss M.Savage, of London, Miss A.Matthews, of Leeds, Mr A.Gardiner of Craigavad, Co Down.

"Grace Darling"                             1954-1967                       69                         16

General funds of the RNLI

"Edward and Mary Lester"               1967-1989                      108                        27

Gift and bequest of Miss Mary Lester of Carmarthen.

"William Henry and Mary King"       1989-1990                         8                           0

Legacy of Miss J.G.King.

"Ernest Tom Neathercoat"              1990-1991                        8                           0

Legacy of Mr E.Neathercoat, of Horsham.

Temporary Lifeboats                      to date                            17                         11

Inshore Lifeboats                           to date                          195                        64

"Grace Darling"                             1991 to 2020

Funded by the Grace Darling Anniversary Appeal and other gifts and legacies.

“John and Elizabeth Allan               2020 to date
Funded by a legacy from the late Professor Allan

The first motor lifeboat at this station, was the "W.R.A." as detailed above, a 35 foot 6 inch  Liverpool Class, non self righting, powered by a 35hp Weyburn AE6 petrol engine. Until then, the boats were powered by oars and sail, and by human strength difficult to imagine today. They were launched by men and women, pulling the launching carriage into the sea and surf. It was not until  1961, that a motor tractor was issued to the station to aid in recovery and launch of the lifeboat. Today, the Tallus tractor can launch and recover the Mersey class lifeboat "Grace Darling" with a minimum of manpower assistance. A Landrover 110 replaced the quad bike used for launching the Inshore Lifeboat and towing the recovery equipment trailer for the Mersey. The Landrover also provides the option of taking the ILB to other launch sites by road, if that is more expedient. Fitted with blue lights and sirens, the vehicles can make progress through the holiday traffic if necessary. See the Vehicles Page.

Notable dates in the history of the station.

1853 - Silver medal awarded to John T Knight, coastguard boatman, for his exertions in attempting to rescue the crew of the Schooner Nisus of Goole, which was wrecked at Seahouses during a north-east gale on 26 February.

1876 - Captain Colquhoun presented a full set of fine wheel and trace harness to the station.

1886 - Silver medal awarded to Coxswain Thomas Pringle in recognition of his long and valuable services in the lifeboat.

1894 - Mortar supplied for assembling the crew in lieu of existing bell which was not satisfactory.

1908 - Silver medal awarded to Coxswain James Robson for gallantly rescuing the crew of fourteen from the SS Geir of Bergen on 18 February.

1909 - The King of Norway conferred the Silver medal on Coxswain James Robson for services in rescuing the crew from the ss Geir of Bergen.

1934 - Centenary Vellum awarded to station.

1948 - When Mr E L Hooper was appointed as Honorary Secretary, it was stated that he was one of the men rescued by the Aldeburgh lifeboat from the Magdapur - one of the first lifeboat services of the 1939-45 war.

1959 - Bronze medal awarded to Coxswain Dawson for the rescue of a man from a cliff on the Inner Farne Islands on 12 July. Details of this Rescue.

1964 - D class lifeboat sent to station in May.

1977 - 150th Anniversary Vellum awarded to station.

1991 - Mersey class lifeboat Grace Darling placed on station. A new boathouse was completed in June for the Mersey class lifeboat, after the existing house was considered unsuitable. As well as providing accommodation for the Mersey lifeboat and carriage coupled to the tractor, it includes housing for the D class lifeboat, and crew facilities.

1996 - Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to crew member Stephen Priestley (now deceased). When at the helm of the D class lifeboat he rescued a wind surfer in heavy seas and surf close to the shore, with a rock scar extending out from the coastline, just north west of the boathouse, on 18 May.

1997 - New D class lifeboat D-529 placed on service on 4 November.

1999 - At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the RNLI held on 9 April 1999 it was resolved that the lifeboat station, then North Sunderland, be renamed Seahouses Lifeboat Station with immediate effect, as requested by the station personnel.

2000 - Lifeboat station extended to accommodate a long wheelbase Landrover, which replaced a quad bike, for launching the Inshore Lifeboat and towing the recovery equipment trailer for the Mersey Lifeboat.

2003 - “D” Class Helmsman receives letter of thanks for service to diver in difficulty in rough seas.

2008 - New D Class IB1 Lifeboat D-686 replaces D-529, which is transferred to the relief fleet at the end of its life as a “station” lifeboat.

2018 - New D Class IB1 Lifeboat D-828 replaces D-686, which is withdrawn and dismantled.

2019 - Seahouses allocated Shannon Class Lifeboat 13-36 RNLB John and Elizabeth Allan, ON1343 is launched on 5th November, at the All Weather Lifeboat Centre, Poole. Delayed two years by harour works at Seahouses. Seahouses was the only RNLI station to be allocated during the pandemic lockdown.

2020 - On 18th October, Shannon Lifeboat arrives finally at Seahouses, escorted by the station’s Mersey Lifeboat RNLB Grace Darling, and the Berwick Lifeboat. On 30th December, following extensive crew training, the Shannon went operational, and the Mersey Lifeboat RNLB “Grace Darling” was withdrawn.

2021 - Former Seahouses Lifeboat RNLB “Grace Darling” is launched for the last time on 13 January 2021, and sailed to Amble, to be lifted onto a road vehicle for transport to RNLI All Weather Lifeboat Centre, Poole, where she is offered for sale. Later sold and shipped to Ecuador with 3 other Merseys to start a new Lifeboat life !

© Copyright - Seahouses Lifeboat Station 2020