Shoreham Harbour Lifeboat Station

Shoreham Harbour Lifeboat Station
RNLI Lifeboat station
Shoreham Harbour Lifeboat Station
Country England
County West Sussex
Region South East England
Non-metropolitan district Adur
Town Shoreham-by-Sea
Location Brighton Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6RN
 - coordinates 50°49′49.1″N 0°14′56.6″W / 50.830306°N 0.249056°W / 50.830306; -0.249056Coordinates: 50°49′49.1″N 0°14′56.6″W / 50.830306°N 0.249056°W / 50.830306; -0.249056
Style Super-structure of timber framed
engineered Glued-laminated Beams[1]
Material Concrete, brick, block and Steel
Founded 1865
re-established in 1929
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Visitation Classed as an Explore[2] station
with free access. Parking, disabled parking,
disabled access. (All year round,)
Location of Shoreham Harbour Lifeboat station
within West Sussex

Shoreham Harbour Lifeboat Station is an RNLI station[3] located in the town of Shoreham-by-Sea in the English county of West Sussex in the United Kingdom.[4] It underwent extensive re-development in 2010 with a new purpose built boathall to accommodate its new Tamar-class all-weather lifeboat. It operates two lifeboats. The AWB lifeboat is called RNLB Enid Collett (ON 1295)[5] and the Inshore lifeboat is a D-class (IB1) called RNLB Barry Lazell (D-647).[6]


Before the establishment of a lifeboat service in Shoreham, rescues from the sea had already been noted. On the 13 January 1843[7] a Chief Boatman, Abraham Young of H.M. coastguard from Fishergate, Shoreham,[8] had rescued five crew of the smack Prince Rupert which had been on passage from London to Portsmouth. The smack had become stranded at Copperas Gap, near Shoreham during very severe weather. Young had secured himself to a line thrown from the smack and hauled himself aboard where he then helped the men to land safely ashore. For his bravery he was awarded a silver medal.[8]

Harbour Commission Lifeboat

In 1845 the Shoreham Harbour Commissioners decided to provide funds to open a lifeboat service for the town.[9] This first lifeboat was a self-righting pulling lifeboat and was 30 feet (9.1 m)[9] in length. In 1870 the Harbour Board funded the installation of a slipway.[9]

The RNLI station

In 1865[9] the Royal National Lifeboat Institution took over the lifeboat cover for Shoreham Harbour. They established a station with a boathouse constructed on Kingston beach. This boathouse was used until 1892[9] when a new timber framed boathouse was built near the coastguard station on Shoreham beach on the western side of the Harbour.[9] The old station building at Kingston beach was demolished.

In 1903 the boathouse was moved further from the shore and was in use until 1924.[9] In October of that year the station had to be closed due to the silting up of the harbour entrance, which had made operations hazardous and then impossible. The station did not re-open until October 1929 after work had been carried out to remove the sandbar across the harbour entrance.[9]

New Boathouse

In 1933 the station moved into new facilities at Kingston Beach opposite Shoreham Harbour.[9] This boathouse and slipway was specifically built to accommodate a new lifeboat, the 41 ft Watson-class RNLB Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn (ON 758).[10] This lifeboat was at Shoreham for 30 years and during that period the lifeboat was launched 244 times and saved 143 lives. Over the years since that boathouse was constructed it has undergone alterations on several occasions to accommodate different lifeboats sent to serve at the station. Problems with sinkage of the slipway led to the decision to allocate a 13-ton Rother-class lifeboat (primarily designed for carriage launching) to the station in 1981. However, the slipway was strengthened following the decision to place a Tyne-class boat on station and the Rother was replaced in 1986 by the first of two 47ft Watson-class boats that served for four years before being replaced by the new Tyne. In 1967 the station was supplied with a second lifeboat. This was a D-class (EA16) inshore lifeboat and was kept in its own berth constructed beneath the main boathouse.[9]

Tyne-class lifeboat

In 1990 the station was supplied with a new Tyne-class lifeboat. She was the RNLB Hermione Lady Colwyn (ON 1158).[11] The Hermione Lady Colwyn was on station from 1990 until 2010 and during that period she was launched to service 414[12] times and she rescued 458 people. 72 of these were classed as medical emergency but she is credited with saving the lives of 39 people. After the withdrawal of Hermione Lady Colwyn in April 2010, the station was served by various relief fleet Tynes until the new Tamar-class entered service in December.

New Tamar-class lifeboat station

In 2008 the Trustees and the RNLI set out to develop the station. A £1 million public appeal was launched to help towards the cost of the re-build to accommodate a new Tamar-class lifeboat. In January 2009 the work began with the demolition of the old station boathouse and slipway. Whilst the work was carried out the station was housed in temporary accommodation on Kingston Beach, with the inshore lifeboat being launched using a tractor. The Tyne-class lifeboat Lady Hermione Colwyn being moored afloat by the locks. Contracted to build the new boathouse and slipways was Dean & Dyball Civil Engineering of Ringwood.[1] The building is a timber-framed building on three storeys. Within this structure are boat halls for the all-weather lifeboat and the inshore lifeboat, each with dedicated slipways to the harbour. The new facility has office and mess accommodation, training facilities, kitchen and showers. A 10,000-litre fuel tank sitting on the middle floor enables the crew to refuel the boat inside the station.

Wave pit

The previous boathouse and station encountered problems with the occasional higher than normal spring tides.[1] On more than one occasion the energy of south easterly storm waves would race across through the open harbour mouth and crash against the slipway, flooding the old station. A design innovation of the new station includes a wave pit at the front of the station. The steep gradient of the slipway would accentuate the waves hitting it, and the wave pit ensures that the waves break before they hit the boathouse door. The resulting seawater will drain away back into the harbour through a channel running parallel to the slipway.[1]

The opening ceremony

The project cost a total of £4,200,000 and was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Kent KG on Thursday 16 June 2011. The new £2.7million Tamar-class lifeboat RNLB Enid Collett (ON 1295) [13] arrived at the station for service on the 10 December 2010. This lifeboat was funded by the generous bequests of Miss Enid Marjory Collett together with other gifts and legacies. The Enid Collett was the first Tamar-class lifeboat to go on service at a lifeboat station in the RNLI's south east region. The station's D-class inshore lifeboat is called Barry Lazell (D-647).[14]

Notable rescues

William Sheader

On 16 December 1874 an examining officer of H.M. Customs was observing the first RNLI Shoreham lifeboat RNLB Ramonet whilst it was out on an exercise in very rough weather and very heavy seas. The lifeboat was capsized and one of the crew members drowned. William Sheader, unaware that the crewman was already dead, at great risk to himself swam out through the breaking surf and brought his body ashore. For his bravery he was awarded an RNLI silver medal.[8]

RNLB Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn (ON 758)

During World War II, RNLB Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn took part in the Dunkirk evacuation with naval crews. On the 1 June 1940 the lifeboat was towed to Dunkirk by Naval Drifter Kindred Star. During the evacuation the lifeboat made three trips from the beaches back to Dover, but naval crews did not keep detailed logs which are the rule in the RNLI. There is a story that the naval officer in charge protected his men from shrapnel and strafing by constructing a makeshift wheelhouse from steel plate, but this has never been substantiated.

HM Minesweeper President Briand

On 16 November 1941[15] the Royal navy Minesweeper President Briand was struggling along the coast off Shoreham with engine trouble. The strong south wind along with the heavy swell was threatening to push the disabled vessel on to the shore. The Shoreham Watson-class lifeboat RNLB Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn (ON 758)[10][16] was launched to service and stood by the ship until 9.30pm at which time SS Goole, a tug had been called to the minesweeper, at which time the lifeboat returned to her station. The coxswain of the Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn then returned to the minesweeper aboard the Shoreham Pilot Cutter with the intention of piloting the minesweeper. At 9.45pm[15] the lifeboat now under command of second coxswain James Upperton,[15] was recalled up to service as both the Tug and the minesweeper were now being driven ashore in the appalling weather. At the scene the tug was trying to haul the vessel clear of shallow water but the line broke which caused the minesweeper to roll heavily and the sea began to break over her decks. With great skill and courage, avoiding the presence of the Naval mines in the vicinity, the lifeboat went alongside six or seven times and removed all 22 men aboard the minesweeper, including their own coxswain. For their part played in this rescue Second Coxswain James Upperton was awarded the RNLI silver medal and Mechanic Henry Philcox was awarded a bronze medal.[15]

The yacht Gull

From early morning on 8 August 1948[17] a strong gale was blowing with rough seas and a heavy swell. Just of the coast at Shoreham the yacht Gull had got into difficulties and was being driven along the coast with her sails torn and shredded and she was out of control. The Shoreham Lifeboat Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn was launched to service with coxswain Upperton[17] at the helm. The lifeboat raced after the yacht and to boost her speed hoisted her sail to help her engines. The lifeboat eventually caught the yacht at the entrance to Newhaven Harbour. The yacht by this time in a desperate attempt to enter the harbour, gybed and became waterlogged and caught in broken shallow water. The lifeboat at great risk got alongside her on two occasions and took off three men, two women and a boy. They were all landed safely at Newhaven. The lifeboat returned to Shoreham arriving back at their station at 3:30 pm after being out at sea for 7 hours.[17] For this service coxswain James Upperton received an RNLI silver medal.[17]

RNLB Dorothy and Philip Constant (ON 967)

Drilling Rig William Allpress

On the 19 October 1971,[18] the drilling rig William Allpress was anchored three-quarters of a mile off the coast near Rustington. The weather was slowly deteriorating and the rig was awaiting a tow into Portsmouth Harbour. After three days the conditions had caused the crew to have no food or sleep and the five men aboard were all suffering from sea sickness and it was necessary for the men to be taken off the rig. The Watson-class lifeboat RNLB Dorothy and Philip Constant (ON 697)[18] was launched at 2.10 pm in south-westerly gale to a very heavy sea, torrential rain and poor visibility. Coxswain John Fox,[18] after circling the rig to assess the situation, piled all his fenders into one large one, brought the life-boat starboard on to the rig enabling the five survivors to be pulled on board across the foredeck. The lifeboat then headed back to Shoreham. The rescue had taken three hours. John Fox was awarded an RNLI Bronze medal for his part in the service.[18]

The yacht Albin Ballard

On 5 August 1975,[19] a south-south-westerly gale was in full force with rough seas. The yacht Albin Ballard was in difficulties. She had broached to windward and under bare poles (No sail) was drifting with the remains of her sails flapping in the water. At 3.15 am the lifeboat Dorothy and Philip Constant was launched to service with coxswain John Fox[19] at the helm. The lifeboat found the yacht due south of Littlehampton and by this time the vessel was being deluged with large breaking waves. Her crew by this time were seasick and exhausted. Coxswain Fox put the lifeboat against the amidships of the yacht at which point two of the lifeboat men scrambled aboard. They then set up, and proceeded to take the yacht into tow. Despite losing the line once they finally towed the yacht into Shoreham arriving at 7.25 am in the morning. John Fox was awarded an RNLI Bronze medal for his part in the service.[19]

MS Athina B

The Athina B aground to the east of the Palace Pier in Brighton

The MS Athina B had left the Azores on 11 December 1979 laden with 3,000 tonnes of pumice. Her destination was the port at Shoreham-by-Sea. During the voyage, she had problems with her generator, gyro compass and radar, and put in at La Rochelle in France for repairs. On arrival at Shoreham on 20 January 1980[9] the vessel was caught in a force seven or eight gale and with seas breaking across her decks, she was unable to enter Shoreham harbour. Her engines failed, and a Mayday call was issued. The Dorothy and Philip Constance was launched to service at 8.40 am with coxswain Ken Voice[20] at the helm. The lifeboat in three approaches took off half the crew and the captain's family, with the rest being rescued on the morning of 21 January.[20] A total of four missions were needed to rescue all those on board. The ship drifted eastwards and eventually ran aground to the east of the Palace Pier. The ship broke her back and was declared a write-off.[21][22] For their actions in the service Coxwain Ken Voice[20] was awarded a RNLI Silver Medal; Crew members Ken Everard, Michael Fox, Peter Huxtable, John Landale, Jack Silverson and Geoff Tugwell were awarded the RNLI's Thanks of the Institution on Vellum;[9] Crew members Peter Everard and Derek Silverson received letters of thanks signed by the director of the RNLI for their part in the rescue of the crew of the Athina B.


All Weather lifeboats

Dates in service Class ON Op. No. Name Comments
1929–1933 40ft Watson-class ON 651 Samuel Oakes Ex Spurn Point, Weymouth
1933–1963 41ft Watson-class ON 758 Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn
1963–1981 42ft Watson-class ON 967 Dorothy and Philip Constant
1981–1986 Rother-class ON 1064 37-39 The Davys Family
1986–1988 47ft Watson-class ON 953 Sarah and James Season Ex Teesmouth
1988–1990 47ft Watson-class ON 971 Joseph Soar (Civil Service No.34) Ex St Davids, Dunbar
1990–2010 Tyne-class ON 1158 47-040 Hermione Lady Colwyn Last Tyne built
2010–present Tamar-class ON 1295 16-15 Enid Collett

Inshore lifeboats

At Shoreham Class Op No Name
1967–1970 D-class (RFD PB16) D-147 Unnamed
1970–1978 D-class (RFD PB16) D-162 Unnamed
1979–1987 D-class (EA16) D-264 Unnamed
1987–1994 D-class (EA16) D-351 Rotary Club of Sutton
1994–1996 D-class (EA16) D-435 Table 32
1996–2005 D-class (EA16) D-501 Forest Row Choir
2005–present D-class (IB1) D-647 Barry Lazell
This is the old lifeboat station before the major re-development in 2009. 
The ex Shoreham lifeboat Dorothy and Philip Constant (ON-967) is in Scotland being used for sight seeing to the Pentland Skerries. She is called Pettlandssker 
The Shoreham lifeboat RNLB Hermione Lady Colwyn (ON-1158)which arrived at the station on 30 September 1990 and served until April 2010. 

Neighbouring Station Locations


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Construction News – New Lifeboat Station". Details about the Construction of the station. Copyright © 2002-2014 EMAP Publishing Limited. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  2. "Visiting stations". Explanation of the visitor-classification of the RNLI stations. The RNLI - copyright © RNLI 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  3. "The RNLI Shoreham harbour Lifeboat Station website". Home page of station website – RNLI. ©2014 RNLI. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  4. OS Explorer Map 122 - Brighton and Hove, Folded Map. Publisher:Ordnance Survey; B2 edition (27 April 2009). ISBN 978 0319467640
  5. "Tamar-class 16.25-metre Lifeboat". List of Tamar-class lifeboats, includes ON-1295. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  6. "D/IB1-classLifeboat Production List (Up to D-599)". List of D-class lifeboats, includes D-647. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  7. "Shoreham Harbour – History". Timeline of Shoreham Harbour History – Reference to 1843. © Copyright HDSA 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 Lifeboat Gallantry - RNLI Medals and how they were won. Author: Cox, Barry. Published by: Spink & Son Ltd. Work: Page 77 – YOUNG Abraham, Chief Boatman, H.M. Coastguard. ISBN 0907605893
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 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 73, Shoreham harbour. ISBN 1 85794 129 2
  10. 1 2 "RNLB Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn now Dowager". All content copyright 2009 - 2014 Association of Dunkirk Little Ships. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  11. "Tyne-class 47 foot Lifeboat". List of Tyne-class lifeboats, includes ON-1158. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  12. "The vessel - Odin Nautical – Tyne Class Lifeboat". Details of the lifeboats service as a lifeboat and photographs of ON 1158. Aegir Nautical© 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  13. "Tamar-class 16.25-metre Lifeboat". List of Tamar-class lifeboats, includes ON-1295. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  14. "D/IB1-class Production List (Up to D-599)". List of D-class inshore lifeboats, includes D-674. Lifeboat World On-Line© 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  15. 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:UPPERTON, James and PHILCOX Henry, Shoreham Lifeboat: Page 292. ISBN 0907605893
  16. "National Historic Ships Register". Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn/Dowager entry. National Historic Ships Register- National Historic Ships UK. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  17. 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:UPPERTON, James, Shoreham Lifeboat: Page 305/306. ISBN 0907605893
  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:FOX, John Alfred, Shoreham Lifeboat: Page 343. ISBN 0907605893
  19. 1 2 3 Lifeboat Gallantry - RNLI Medals and how they were won. Author: Cox, Barry. Publisher:Spink & son Ltd and the RNLI, 1998. Work:FOX, John Alfred, Shoreham Lifeboat: Page 347. ISBN 0907605893
  20. 1 2 3 Lifeboat Gallantry - RNLI Medals and how they were won. Author: Cox, Barry. Publisher:Spink & son Ltd and the RNLI, 1998. Work:VOICE, Kenneth Frederick David, Shoreham Lifeboat: Page 370. ISBN 0907605893
  21. "MS Athina B". Details of the grounding of the Athina B on Brighton Beach. All content copyright 2009 - 2014 My Brighton and Hove. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  22. "The Rescue Operation". Details of the ships rescue operation. All content copyright 2009 - 2014 My Brighton and Hove. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
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