Calshot Lifeboat Station

Calshot Lifeboat Station
RNLI Lifeboat station
Calshot Lifeboat Station
Country England
County Hampshire
Region South East England
District New Forest
Village Calshot
Location Calshot Activity Centre, Calshot, Hampshire, SO45 1BR
 - coordinates 50°49′12.8″N 1°18′30.1″W / 50.820222°N 1.308361°W / 50.820222; -1.308361Coordinates: 50°49′12.8″N 1°18′30.1″W / 50.820222°N 1.308361°W / 50.820222; -1.308361
Material Masonry, Brick, on Concrete Stantions
Founded 1970
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution
For public classed as a Observe[1] station by the RNLI
Location of Calshot Lifeboat station

Calshot Lifeboat Station[2][3] is located on Calshot Spit[4] near the village of Calshot, Hampshire,[5] and is on the southern bank of the open end of Southampton Water, on the south coast of England. The station is owned and operated by the RNLI and currently operates two inshore lifeboats. They are an Atlantic 85 called Max Walls (B-860) and a D-class (IB1) called RNLB Willett (D-748).


Up until the 1960s the grounds on which the station is located at Calshot split had been the site of RAF Calshot[6] which was used by the RAF as its main seaplane/flying boat development and training unit in the UK. The base was closed in 1961 and after the RAF had left, Hampshire County Council opened an Education Sea and Land based Activities Centre. The centre was constantly being asked by HM coastguard to use its boats to go out and rescue people in trouble off shore. The administrators of the centre decided that they would contact the RNLI with a view to there being a more formalised rescue service for this busy stretch of water. The RNLI spent a year evaluating this proposition and with a result opened a lifeboat station on the site in 1970.

The first lifeboat

The first lifeboat to be stationed at Calshot was a 40 ft (12 m) Keith Nelson-type lifeboat[7] which had the operation number of 40-001. She was called Ernest William and Elizabeth Ellen Hinde (ON 1017) [8] and was essentially an experimental GRP constructed lifeboat and she cost £24,559.

RNLB Safeway (ON 1104)

The second lifeboat at the station was the Brede-class [9] lifeboat called RNLB Safeway (ON 1104). The lifeboat was kept at a moorings just of Calshot Castle.[10] The crew used a davit launched boarding boat when called out on service. She was built for the RNLI by Lochin Marine[11] at Newhaven, East Sussex in 1985. Like the Keith Nelson-type she had a Glass reinforced plastic (GRP) hull and had a watertight GRP cabin which gave the boat a self-righting capability. Funding for the lifeboat came from Safeway stores hence her name "Safeway", and she stayed on service at Calshot until December 2001 when she was withdrawn from service. She was replaced by the former Poole based Brede "Inner Wheel" which was at the station for only a few months before being replaced by an Arun-class boat. The Brede-class lifeboat service was short-lived as the class was not considered to be suitable in rough seas and to stress limitations in the GRP hull.

New shore facilities

In 1996[10] the RNLI invested further to the stations future by constructing new shore facilities at the station. The building was constructed on concrete stanchions to protect the station from flooding.[10] The Hampshire County Council[10] provided a new boarding jetty for use jointly by the lifeboat station and the Calsholt Activity Centre.[12]


The Arun-class lifeboat Margaret Russell Fraser (ON 1108)

The next lifeboat to arrive at the station had come across the Solent from the Yarmouth station on the Isle of Wight. The Arun-class lifeboat Margaret Russell Fraser (ON 1108)[13] had been stationed there from the RNLI’s relief fleet which she had been a part of since her launch. She arrived in 2002 and stayed until she was replaced in 2004 by another Arun-class called Mabel Williams (ON 1159).[14] In 2003 the station also given its first D-class (IB1) inshore lifeboat from the relief fleet. She was called Marlborough Club (D-407).[15] 2003 also saw improvements made to the station facilities. At the cost of £266,424[16] an extension was added to the side of the station.

Tyne-class lifeboat

The Tyne-class Alexander Coutanche (ON 1157) - service 21 January 2010 to 2012

In 2007 the Arun-class lifeboats were withdrawn from the service with one of the last to be withdrawn being the Mabel Williams in February 2007. She was replaced by the Tyne-class Sarah Emily Harrop (ON 1155). This lifeboat stayed at the station until January 2010 when she was withdrawn and placed into the relief fleet. In her place came another Tyne-class called Alexander Coutanche (ON 1157) and she began her service on 21 January 2010.


In 2012 following a meeting of the board of trustees it was decided that Calshot would cease to be an all weather lifeboat station and the Tyne-class lifeboat was withdrawn on April 4. In its place an Atlantic 85-class inshore lifeboat was sent to the station. The Atlantic 85 would co-locate at the station with the already established D-class (IB1) boat. After improved facilities had been made at the station to accommodate the new lifeboat and its required launch tractor a new lifeboat arrived and the Alexander Coutanche was withdrawn. On the 11 July the new Atlantic 85-class Max Walls (B-860)[17] was placed on the station along with a new New Holland Launch tractor and the Calsholt was officially re-designated as an inshore lifeboat station.

Notable Rescues

In the evening of the 10 January 1976[18] during force 8 to force 9[10] winds and a very choppy sea the Keith Nelson type lifeboat Ernest Williams and Elizabeth Hinde was called to service to help a Boston Whaler belonging to Hamble Rescue[19] which had been driven ashore on the saltings. The vessel had been on route from Hamble to Ashlett Creek[20] when her engines failed[10] as she tried to negotiate the Ashlett Creek channel.[18] The lifeboat put to anchor at the mouth of the entrance to the creek and three of the crew took to the lifeboats inflatable boarding boat which they had towed to the service, expecting to have to use the small boat as it was to shallow for the lifeboat.[18] By 11pm the three lifeboatmen located one of the crew and took him to safety ashore. half an hour later they had spotted the other two crewman and the Hamble rescue boat. To reach the vessel the lifeboat men, in freezing temperatures, took turns dragging the small inflatable with its small 6 hp[10] engine, through the marshes, sometimes up to chests in the cold water.[10] Eventually reaching the Hamble boat the two crewmen were taken off which was then piloted back to the main lifeboat with great effort and difficulty. The lifeboat got back to station in the early hours of the 30 January. For their part played in the rescue the three lifeboat men, Peter King, Christopher Smith and John Street were all awarded RNLI bronze medals.[18]


  1. "Visiting stations". Explanation of the visitor-classification of the RNLI stations. The RNLI - copyright © RNLI 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  2. "Home Page of the Calshot Lifeboat Station". RNLI Calshot Lifeboat Home Page. Calshot Lifeboat Station. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  3. "Calshot Lifeboat Station – RNLI website". Home page of the Calshot station. RNLI © 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  4. "Zone 8: Calshot Spit" (PDF). New Forest District Council. February 2004. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  5. OS Explorer Map, New Forest, Author: Ordnance Survey. Publisher: Ordnance Survey B4 edition (2013). ISBN 9780319241509
  6. "RAF Calshot - Air of Authority, A History of RAF Organisation". Details and History of RAF Calshot. courtesy of Steve Clements. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  7. "Welcome to the NBOC website". Home Page of the Nelson Boat Owners Club. Copyright © 2010 Nelson Boat Owners Club. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  8. Never Turn Back – the RNLI since the Second World War. Authors: Kipling, Ray & Susannah. Publisher: Sutton Publishing. 2006 edition. Work: Chapter – Designed for Danger, Page 86, Reference to the name and construction of Ernest William and Elizabeth Ellen Hyde. ISBN 9780750943079
  9. "33 Foot Brede-class". List of Foot Brede-class lifeboats, includes Safeway ON 1104. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 For Those In Peril – The Lifeboat Service of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Station by Station. Author: Leach, Nicholas. Publisher: Silver Link Publishing Ltd, First Issue 1999. Work:Part 2, South Coast of England – Eastbourne to Weston-super-Mare, Page 80, Calshot station. ISBN 1 85794 129 2
  11. "Home Page - Lochin Boatyard Services". Details of the Boatbuilder and there services. All Contents © 2014 Lochin Marine International. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  12. "Calshot Activities Centre". Home page of the Calshot Activities Centre. © Copyright Hampshire County Council 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  13. Arun Lifeboats – An illustrated history of the RNLI Arun lifeboats 1971 – 2009. Author: Leach, Nicholas. Publisher: Kelsey Publishing Ltd. 2011. work: Page 104, Margaret Russell Fraser. ISBN 9781907426216
  14. Arun Lifeboats – An illustrated history of the RNLI Arun lifeboats 1971 – 2009. Author: Leach, Nicholas. Publisher: Kelsey Publishing Ltd. 2011. work: Page 126, RNLB Mable Williams (ON1159). ISBN 9781907426216
  15. "D/IB1-class Production List". List of D-class inshore lifeboats, includes D-407. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  16. "History Section - Calshot Lifeboat Station website". RNLI Calshot Lifeboat Station History Tab. Calshot Lifeboat Station. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  17. "Lifeboats online - B-class Atlantic 85 Production List.". List of Atlantic 85-class lifeboats, includes B-860. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  18. 1 2 3 4 Lifeboat Gallantry - RNLI Medals and how they were won. Author: Cox, Barry. Publisher:Spink & son Ltd and the RNLI, 1998. Work:KING Peter James, SMITH Christopher James, STREET John Anthony, Calshot Lifeboat: Page 357. ISBN 0907605893
  19. "Hamble Lifeboat - Website Home Page". Home page of the rescue organisation. © 2014 Hamble Lifeboat Limited. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  20. "Ashlett Mill and Creek Historical Note". History of, and reference to Ashlett Creek. Ashlett Sailing Club. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
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