Lymington Lifeboat - saving lives at sea since 1965
A strong team of volunteering heroes, medals of honour and royal visits to the Lymington RNLI station.
Lymington RNLI Inshore lifeboat station was formed in 1965 out of an independent service previously run by the local sailing clubs, with a D-class lifeboat. For over 50 years the Lymington Lifeboat has covered an area of the western Solent. Six awards have been presented to members of the lifeboat crew for gallantry.
In 1972 a film was sponsored by Martel Cognac about the Lymington Lifeboat. Watch the film here - it is very much of its era and shows many of Lymington's original founding crew and highlights how fashion (in particular sailing kit!) has changed!
The D-class lifeboat was withdrawn in August 1973 and replaced by a B class Atlantic 21. The Atlantic 21 was part of the B-class of lifeboats and first generation Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) that was named after Atlantic College in South Wales, the birth place of the RIB. The versatile Atlantic 21 could be launched from a davit, trolley or floating boathouse depending on the location of the station and the available facilities.
In 1978 a new boathouse was built near the Yacht Club and marinas.
In 1981 a Bronze Medal was awarded to Helmsman Alan Coster for saving two crew from the fishing vessel Al Mor, which was sinking at the entrance to the Lymington River.
In a gale and rough sea he swam from the lifeboat and led her two crew over the marshes for half a mile to the lifeboat on 17 December 1980. Crew members Peter Harvey and Simon Chalk were presented with medal service certificates.
On 7 June 1987 HRH The Princess Anne visited Lymington's Lifeboat station accompanied by her son Peter Phillips, then aged 10. The pair spent half an hour at sea on board the Frank and Mary Atkinson, taking the controls under the supervision of senior helmsman Alan Coster.
During her visit, the Princess Royal, as she became soon afterwards, accepted a cheque for £50,000 from Mr and Mrs Atkinson, donors of the Lymington boat bearing their names. The Atkinsons by then had funded three Atlantic 21s.
Princess Anne spent several minutes chatting with members of the crew and officials of Lymington lifeboat station before boarding the Frank and Mary Atkinson for the exercise in the Solent. Calshot lifeboat, the 33ft Brede Safeway, exercised with a Royal Navy Wessex SAR helicopter from Lee-on-Solent while the royal party was at sea.
One year later in 1988, framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to Helmsman Alan Coster and Crew Member Michael Crowe for a service to a 28ft yacht, which was in difficulties off the Shingles Bank. Crew Member Nicholas Hayward and the helicopter crew also involved in this service received letters of appreciation from the Director.
In 1991, a first floor extension to the boathouse was completed to provide improved crew facilities and a souvenir sales outlet. HRH the Duke of Kent, President of the RNLI, visited the station.
An Atlantic 75, (B-784) Victor ‘Danny’ Lovelock, replaced the Atlantic 21 lifeboat in 2002. In the same year, Thanks of the Institution inscribed on vellum was awarded to Helmsman Nicholas Hayward for saving the three crew and the yacht Piciess. Crew Members Barry Down, Robin Mursell and Austin Honeysett each received a Framed Letter of Thanks for this service. The B-class lifeboat was operating at the very limit of her capabilities in a force 8/9 gale, torrential rain and very rough seas.
In 2006, a new ‘future proofed’ boathouse was built on the existing site, providing facilities for training, crew changing, workshop and storage together with an enlarged boat hall allowing the lifeboat launching cradle to be permanently hitched to the tractor for safer and faster launching. An expanded souvenir outlet was also included at this time.
In 2015, the 50th anniversary year, the Atlantic 75 (B-874) Victor “Danny” Lovelock replaced by the Atlantic 85 (B-882) David Bradley providing extended range and capabilities. Display boards from the anniversary exhibition were added to the station internal walls as an education feature for visiting groups.
Source: Lymington Lifeboat, RNLI Archives.