Hayling Island Lifeboat Station

Hayling Island Lifeboat Station
RNLI Lifeboat station
Hayling Island Lifeboat Station.
Country England
County Hampshire
Borough Havant
Town Mengham
Location Hayling Island Lifeboat Station, Bracklesham Road, Hayling Island, PO11 9SJ
 - coordinates 50°46′53.9″N 0°56′12.3″W / 50.781639°N 0.936750°W / 50.781639; -0.936750Coordinates: 50°46′53.9″N 0°56′12.3″W / 50.781639°N 0.936750°W / 50.781639; -0.936750
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Location of Hayling Island Lifeboat station
within Hampshire

Hayling Island Lifeboat Station is an RNLI station[1][2] located on Hayling Island close to the town of Mengham in the English county of Hampshire.[3] The station is located on the eastern side of Hayling island at the entrance to Chichester Harbour where it joins the major shipping route of the Solent, and is opposite the village of West Wittering. This major shipping route is a busy at all times of the year and there are estimated to be 10,000[1] boats in the Chichester area alone. The Hayling Island station provides cover for the area 24 hours a day, all year, by means of two inshore rigid inflatable lifeboats placed on this station.[1]


The RNLI first opened a lifeboat station on Hayling Island in 1865.[4] The station was opened after the Vicar of Hayling Island, the Rev. Charles Hardy had written to the RNLI in London and to the local newspaper to voice his concerns over recent events and ship rescues which had occurred in the area. He highlighted two events which had occurred in 1862. The first involved a Portsmouth sloop called Cygnet which had run aground in a gale on the 17 October 1862.[5] The crew of three had been clinging to the rigging with the waves washing over them. With very little equipment and a lot of courage three local fishing men had managed to save the crew from the wrecked ship. For their efforts, three local fisherman, William Goldring, David Farmer and James Spragg were awarded silver medals by the RNLI.[5] The second incident highlighted by the Reverend happened on the 14 January 1865 when the schooner Ocean of Plymouth was blown on to the Woolsiner Sandbanks. The heavy seas soon swamped the vessel and two of her crew were swept away to their death. Eventually a ten oared cutter crewed by twelve fishermen with local knowledge managed to save three men from the stricken vessel. For his part in the rescue, Major Francis Festing,[6] a major in the Royal Marine Artillery who had been at the helm of the cutter throughout the rescue, was awarded a Silver Medal by the RNLI.

Establishing the station

The original boathouse is now unrecognisable as it has been incorporated into a structure now used as a public house and restaurant

Following the highlighting of the need for lifeboat cover along the coast of Hayling island the RNLI decided to set up a station. The decision was made at an RNLI management committee meeting held on 2 February 1865. The following week the District Inspector visited the island and a decision was made on the location for the new boathouse. An order was also placed with Forrestt's yard[7] at Limehouse in London for the building of a new self-righting lifeboat for the station. The station was officially opened on the 13 September 1865 with the naming of the new lifeboat called RNLB Olive Leaf, was blessed by the Bishop of Chichester Ashurst Gilbert.

Closure of the all-weather station

The second lifeboat house to be built on Hayling Island. This boathouse was built in 1914 and had doors at either end of the building. The boathouse was closed when the lifeboat service was closed in 1924. Today it is used by the Hayling Island Army Cadet Force for their meetings.

The lifeboat all-weather service at Hayling island operated for a total of 59 years until it was decided by the RNLI to close the station on 15 May 1924. During those years the station operated from two different locations on the islands. Over these years the station had had three pulling lifeboats. The first being Olive Leaf. This was followed by Charlie and Adrian (ON 146), a self-righting lifeboat on station from 1988 until 1914. the last AWL was the Proctor (ON 640) which operated until the closure in 1924. The closure was decided upon because the stations neighbouring services at Selsey[8] to the south-east and Bembridge[9] to the south west, on the Isle of Wight, both of which operated more modern and faster motor lifeboats which by the 1920s deemed to be more effective given the shipping patterns and the type of vessels now operating in the Solent.

The re-opening as an inshore lifeboat station

By the end of the 1950s the vast increase of pleasure craft and leisure activities saw a change in the pattern of casualties along the Hayling island coastline and in Chichester Harbour. An increasing number of services had been required to rescue to bathers washed out to sea, people on lilos, dinghies, and various small water craft. It was realised locally that a faster first response was needed to attend such situations. In 1966, with this situation in mind, A local man along with his two sons, started a rescue service and patrol on the island. His name was Frank Martin and along with sons Guy and Leigh, used an old RNLI inflatable with the number 007 to patrol the coast. The fledgling service was run from a caravan located next to the coastguard station. A Land Rover was used to launch the boat and the lifeboat was powered with a 40 hp Evinrude outboard motor. Their tiny organisation became part of the Shore Boat Rescue Scheme which was a recognised scheme by the RNLI


This independent service at Hayling island was formalised in 1971 and was called the Hayling Island Sea Rescue and Research Organisation (HISRrO).[10] This service began regular patrols along the areas coast and inland estuaries. It also performed rescues and used to research and perfected rescue procedures and methods for divers. In 1975 the HISRrO and the RNLI agreed to operate a joint service and in 1975 the partnership began operating from a new boathouse at Sandy point. The RNLI placed an Atlantic 21 ILB on station. The two organisations worked alongside each other until 1978.


In March 1978 the HISRrO and the RNLI agreed that they would agree to discontinue their joint association at Sandy Point and sole administration for the station and service was taken over by the RNLI. HISRrO continued to operate after the split but by August 1992 the charity was closed.[11]


In 1980 launch facilities at the boathouse were improved with the installation of a launch ramp. In November 1980[12] the station also received a new Atlantic 21 inshore lifeboat which for the first to be specifically designed and built for the Hayling Island station.

Hovercraft trials

In June 2004 the RNLI sent a Hovercraft for trials at Hayling island. The Hovercraft was Hurley Spirit (H-005).

Re-building of station

The Hayling island boathouse at Sandy Point. This building replaced an early boathouse which had been constructed in 1974 to house the first ILB's on station. This building was built in 1994/95 to house both the Atlantic 75 ILB and the inflatable D-class lifeboat. This building was redeveloped in 2007.

In the later part of 2006 work began on an extensive re-build and refurbishment of the station. This was required to house a new lifeboat, its A85 Do-Do launch carriage and launch tractor. The station remained open throughout the period of the rebuild and the station was housed in Shipping containers which were located temporally on the station car park. The new station was completed in November 2007 and included a new boat hall with an upper storey for the operations room and station office. Training and Education facilities were moved into what was the old boathouse which had been incorporated into the new buildings design. There was also changing rooms and a station museum included. The new station was paid for from legacies of £500,000 from the Lusty Family and £300,000 provided by Gwendoline Prince and Mr and Mrs Hudson.[12]

Boathouse Locations

1865 to 1914

First Boathouse location: 50°47′05.4″N 1°00′03.1″W / 50.784833°N 1.000861°W / 50.784833; -1.000861

The first boathouse was built in 1865 by H.R. Trigg and was located at the western end of the south shore of the island. This house cost £259 10s 0d and was used until 1913. This original boathouse is still standing although it is now unrecognisable as it has been incorporated into a structure now used as a public house and restaurant.[13]

1914 to 1924

Second Boathouse location: 50°46′56.6″N 0°58′14.9″W / 50.782389°N 0.970806°W / 50.782389; -0.970806

In 1914[12] a new lifeboat was allocated to Hayling. She was the Rubie self-righter Proctor (ON 640). To accommodate the new larger lifeboat a new boathouse was required. The new boathouse was built two miles to the east of the original boathouse and was designed with access doors at both ends of the building. This new boathouse cost £900.[12] This station closed in 1924 when the all-weather lifeboat cover was withdrawn from the island. The boathouse still stands on the seafront and has been used in the past as the village hall and today is used by the Army cadets.[14]

1971 to present

The current boathouse is located on the south-eastern tip of Hayling island on Sandy Point. The building was constructed in 1975 on land leased from the Coldeast and Tachbury Mount Croup Hospital Group. The current boathouse is the third location the station has used on Hayling island.

Station lifeboats

The Hayling Island inshore lifeboat Derrick Battle (B-829) just after launch during a lifeboat demonstration 3 km from West Wittering, West Sussex, Great Britain. The Lifeboat open day on Sunday 1 August 2009

The two current lifeboats are an Atlantic 85-class lifeboat and a D-class (IB1) lifeboat.[12] The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat is called Derrick Battle (B-829) and arrived on station on the 26 February 2009. It is fitted with radar interlaced into the GPS system and VHF direction finding gear. The lifeboat is equipped with two 115 hp Yamaha outboard engines and has the capability of thirty five knots.[12] The second lifeboat is a smaller D-class inflatable lifeboat and is called Amanda, James and Ben (D-642).[15] It arrived on station in May 2005 and is an IB1 type boat powered by a 50 hp outboard engine giving her a top speed of twenty five knots.[12]


All Weather Boats

Dates in service Class ON Op. No. Name
1865−1888 Self-Righter, Pulling Olive Leaf
1888−1914 Self-Righter, Pulling ON 146 Charlie and Adrian
1914−1924 Rubie Self-Righter, Pulling ON 640 Proctor

Inshore Lifeboats

B-class Lifeboats

Dates in service Class Op. No. Name
1975–1980 Atlantic 21-class B-511 Co-Operative No. 1
1980−1994 Atlantic 21-class B-548 Aldershot
1994−1995 Atlantic 21-class B-541 Elizabeth Bestwick
1995−1995 Atlantic 21-class B-526 Un-named
1995−2009 Atlantic 75-class B-712 Betty Battle
2009−present Atlantic 85-class B-829 Derrick Battle

D-class Lifeboats

Dates in service Class Op. No. Name
1995–1996 D-class (EA16) D-398 Victory Wheelers
1996−2005 D-class (EA16) D-496 Leonard Stedman
2005−2015 D-class (IB1) D-642 Amanda James and Ben
2015−present D-class (IB1) D-779 Jacob


Since lifeboat services began numerous medals and awards have been presented to Hayling Island lifeboat crew, including seven Silver Medals and three Bronze Medals[16] -

Note: Hayling Rescue is an independent service run by retired RNLI Helmsman Frank Dunster


  1. 1 2 3 "Hayling Island Lifeboat Station". Hayling Lifeboats.org. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  2. "Hayling Island Lifeboat Station". RNLI. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  3. OS Explorer Map 120 – "Chichester, South Harting and Selsey". Southampton: Ordnance Survey. ISBN 978-0-319-24079-3.
  4. Leach, Nicholas (1999). "Hayling Island". Part 2, South Coast of England – Eastbourne to Weston-super-Mare. For Those In Peril – The Lifeboat Service of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Station by Station. Kettering: Silver Link Publishing Ltd. pp. 76–77. ISBN 1-85794-129-2.
  5. 1 2 Cox, Barry. "GOLDRING, William, FARMER, David, and SPRAGG, James". Lifeboat Gallantry – RNLI Medals and how they were won. Spink & Son Ltd./RNLI. p. 132. ISBN 0-907605-89-3.
  6. Cox, Barry. "FESTING, Francis Worgan, Major, Royal Marine Artillery". Lifeboat Gallantry – RNLI Medals and how they were won. Spink & Son Ltd./RNLI. p. 137. ISBN 0-907605-89-3.
  7. "Forrestt's Life-Boat Building Yard, Limehouse". Royal Museums Greenwich. 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  8. "Selsey Lifeboat Station". RNLI. 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  9. "Bembridge Lifeboat Station". RNLI. 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  10. "Hayling Island lifeboat station launches a book". The Hayling Site. OKO Digital. 10 May 2010. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  11. "Hayling Island Sea Rescue and Research Organisation – Removed charity". Charity Commission. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Leach, Nicholas (2010). Hayling Island Lifeboats. Foxglove Media. ISBN 978-0-95136-569-4.
  13. "Inn on the Beach". innonthebeach.co.uk. 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  14. "Hampshire and Isle of Wight ACF". Army Cadet Force. 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  15. "D/IB1-class Production List (Up to D-599)". Navynuts.com. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  16. "Awards - Hayling Island Lifeboat Station". Hayling Lifeboats.org. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
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