Littlehampton Lifeboat Station

Littlehampton Lifeboat Station
RNLI Lifeboat station
Littlehampton Lifeboat Station
Country England
County West Sussex
Region South East England
Non-metropolitan district Arun
Town Littlehampton
Location Fisherman's Quay, Littlehampton, West Sussex , BN17 5BL
 - coordinates 50°48′28.9″N 0°32′40.1″W / 50.808028°N 0.544472°W / 50.808028; -0.544472Coordinates: 50°48′28.9″N 0°32′40.1″W / 50.808028°N 0.544472°W / 50.808028; -0.544472
Style Steelframe Boathouse
with brick and block construction
Material Concrete, brick, block and Steel
Founded 1884
re-established in 1967
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Visitation Classed as an Explore[1] station
with free access. Parking, disabled parking,
disabled access. (All year round,)
Location of Littlehampton Lifeboat station
within West Sussex

Littlehampton Lifeboat Station is an RNLI station located in the town of Littlehampton in the English county of West Sussex in the United Kingdom.[2][3] The station is located on Littlehampton harbour side on the eastern bank of the River Arun, a quarter mile from the harbour entrance and the pier. The current lifeboat house on Fisherman's Quay was built in 2002. The lifeboat station currently operates with two inshore lifeboats: a B-class (Atlantic 85) lifeboat, Renee Sherman (B-891) and a D-class (IB1) lifeboat, Ray of Hope (D-769)[4][5]

The Arun-class of lifeboat (in service 1971–2008) was developed by the RNLI working with the now defunct William Osborne boatyard in Littlehampton and took its name from the River Arun, upon which Littlehampton harbour is built. No Arun-class lifeboats have been stationed at Littlehampton.[6] Osborne's built more than 100 traditional lifeboats over the years, and also worked on the prototype Tyne class, and fitted out the prototypes for the Severn and Trent class lifeboats.


The RNLI opened the first lifeboat station in the town in 1884.[7][8] It was built on the east bank of the River Arun, near what is now the Harbour Park amusement park. The station's first pulling lifeboat was manned by local sailors and fishermen using oars and sail. During the next 37 years of operation, the lifeboats were launched 26 times before this original station closed in 1921.[8]

Station re-location

In 1903 the boathouse was moved close to the lighthouse. The station was closed in 1921 due to lack of qualified staff, and the placement of a new motor lifeboat further west at Selsey.[7]

The re-opening as an inshore lifeboat station

The RNLI noted that given the increase in the use of pleasure craft and leisure activities, the area was seeing a change in the pattern of casualties along the West Sussex coast and in the Arun river estuary. More services had been required to rescue bathers washed out to sea, people on lilos, dinghies, and various small water craft and as a result, faster first response was needed. The station re-opened in 1967 as an inshore lifeboat station operating a D-class lifeboat housed in a garage on the east bank of the river Arun. The cost was defrayed by a BBC Blue Peter fundraising appeal.[9] The lifeboat was called Blue Peter 1 (D-115)[10] and with this placement came an association with the children's programme that has carried on since.

1979 –

In 1979, the station was improved with the construction of a bespoke new boathouse located near Fishermen's Quay in the town, from which lifeboats could be launched quickly down a short ramp into the river Arun.[7]

In 2002, the station underwent a large re-development. The new building is still located on Fishermen's Quay, but is in a slightly different situation to fit in with the recent waterside changes in the area. The new station has been designed specifically as a two-boat station at a cost of £550,000.[11] The new station saw the arrival of a B-class (Atlantic 75) lifeboat, Blue Peter 1 (B-779), at a cost of £100,000.[11] Blue Peter 1 was replaced in 2016 by a B-class (Atlantic 85) boat, Rennee Sherman (B-891).[5]

A new D-class inshore lifeboat, D-631 Spirit of Juniper, was donated by the Campaign for Real Gin in 2004 at a cost of £25,000, and served until 2014.[11] She was replaced by D-769 Ray of Hope, a later version of the D-Class IB1, funded by a private donor at a cost of £42,000.[12] In recent years, the station has typically responded to around 70 incidents each year, peaking at 109 in 2011.


The lifeboat station is open most days between 10am and 3pm (4pm in the summer) to casual visitors. Organised groups are also welcomed, often in partnership with the neighbouring Look and Sea educational centre, contact details on Members of the education and visits team also visit many groups and associations to present at their meetings.


The RNLI shop is adjacent to the boathouse, selling a range of RNLI goods, and open every day from 10am until 3pm, or 4pm in the summer months.

The Blue Peter relationship

The children's television programme Blue Peter[10] held an annual appeal for good causes. In 1966[13] the programmes producers decided to aim the appeal at raising funds for the RNLI with a view to providing a lifeboat. The programme asked its viewers to send in paperback books.[13] The response was so great that the RNLI's warehouse at Borehamwood was overwhelmed with the second hand books. The proceeds of the appeal raised enough money to buy four[13] inshore lifeboats for the institution, of which one was sent to Littlehampton with the other three going to Beaumaris, North Berwick and St Agnes.[13]

The Blue Peter era at Littlehampton comes to an end in 2016, after 49 years. The original boat has been replaced three times, funded by subsequent Blue Peter appeals, each boat bearing the same name of Blue Peter 1. The new boat will be the Atlantic 85 B-891, named Renée Sherman, and funded by legacy.

The Littlehampton Atlantic 75-class lifeboat Blue Peter 1 (B-779) being retrieved by the stations TC45 tractor in its launch cradle on the slipway outside the lifeboat station at Fishermen’s Quay on the banks of the River Arun. 
The Littlehampton D-class Spirit of Juniper (D-631) was on station from 2004 to 2014, here inside the boathouse at Fishermen’s Quay, Littlehampton. 
Rennee Sherman (B-891) being launched in a cradle in the river Arun, Littlehampton Lifeboat Station, 9 May 2016. 
Rennee Sherman (B-891) in the river Arun heading out to sea, 9 May 2016. 
Rennee Sherman (B-891) being launched from Littlehampton Lifeboat Station, 9 May 2016. 

Neighbouring Station Locations


  1. "Visiting stations". Explanation of the visitor-classification of the RNLI stations. The RNLI - copyright © RNLI 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  2. "The RNLI Littlehampton Lifeboat Station website". Home page of station website – RNLI. ©2014 RNLI. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  3. OS Explorer Map 120 - Chichester South Harting and Selsey (OS Explorer Map Active) Folded Map.Publisher: Ordnance Survey. ISBN 978 0319467626
  4. "The lifeboats". RNLI Littlehampton. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  5. 1 2 "The latest news on our new Atlantic 85 lifeboat". Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  6. Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 26–33.
  7. 1 2 3 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 74, Littlehampton. ISBN 1 85794 129 2
  8. 1 2 "A Brief History of Littlehampton". Reference to the early work of the RNLI at Littlehampton. Arun District Council. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  9. Strong to Save – Dramatic first-hand accounts of the RNLI lifeboat rescues around the British Iles. Author: Kipling, Ray and Susannah. Publisher:Patrick Stephens Ltd, re-printed addition – 1998. Work: Blue Peter to the Rescue – references to the Blue Peter appeals and involvement with the RNLI, Page 104. ISBN 1 85260 495 6
  10. 1 2 "Shorething! - Blue Peter lifeboats and rescue". Description of the relationship of Blue Peter 1 to Littlehampton. RNLI. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  11. 1 2 3 "Station History – Littlehampton Lifeboat Station". Littlehampton History – reference to new station and Lifeboat. Copyright © 2014 RNLI Littlehampton. All Rights Reserved. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  12. Ash, Tim (13 October 2014). "Official naming ceremony for new lifeboat at Littlehampton RNLI lifeboat station". RNLI. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Never Turn Back – The RNLI since the Second World War. Author:Kipling, Ray and Susannah. Publisher:Sutton Publishing, 2006. Work: Chapter 7, page 154, From Whitehall to White City – Blue Peter book appeal, ISBN 0 7509 4307 6
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