Tenby Lifeboat Station
|Tenby Lifeboat Station|
|RNLI Lifeboat station|
Tenby's new Lifeboat Station
|Location||Castle Square, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales|
|Owner||Royal National Lifeboat Institution
On land leased from the Crown Estate
|Visitation||Summer Months only|
Tenby Lifeboat Station (based in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales) has operated for over 150 years, and today it has both an all weather lifeboat and an inshore D class lifeboat - the smallest in the fleet.
The station was originally established in 1852, by The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society. After being taken over in 1854 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the first RNLI boathouse was established on the town's castle beach in 1862.
The problem with launching from the harbour site is the shallow angle of the supporting underlying seabed geography. This means that the fine sand beaches at Tenby, although a pleasure for children, are both a danger due to the speed of the incoming tide, and a huge access problem to overcome when dragging a near 2tonne lifeboat over them from the empty harbour. Resultantly, when time came to replace the boat with a larger/heavier one, in 1905 a new lifeboat boathouse and roller slipway were built on the north side of Castle Hill. Due to being positioned on the tidal foreshore, the land on which both lifeboat stations are built is leased from the Crown Estate. Built using the new screw-piles that had been created for the construction of Victorian era pleasure piers due to the depth of the sand beneath, this allowed for lifeboat access in all weathers and during all tides. It later became somewhat of a public access way, with the ferry boat to Caldey Island during the summer using the slipway as a disembarkation point for returning tourists.
In 1923, the first motor-powered lifeboat came on station. The lifeboat operated throughout World War II, in part due to the three squadrons of Royal Air Force Short Sunderland flying boats operating from Milford Haven. Post-war, the station was awarded an RNLI Velum for 100years of service in 1952.
1972-onwards: dual-boat station
From 1972, the station became a dual-boat station with an inshore D-class lifeboat stationed within the harbour. In 1976, due to the same tidal access problems, a new ILB boathouse was built on the north side of the harbour to house the boat and a propelling tractor. On 6 September 1986, the Tyne class lifeboat the RFA Sir Galahad came on station. Named after the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Round Table class landing ship logistics (LSL) vessel of the same name which was sunk during the Falklands War in June 1982, it became the last boat to use the original boathouse. By the time that the station was awarded its 150 years Velum by the RNLI in 2002, the new lifeboat house was being planned.
Due to the size and scale of the new lifeboat, Tenby needed a new lifeboat station. Having obtained an extended lease from the Crown Estate, the RNLI obtained planning permission from the council to build a new lifeboat station on the site of the old demolished Victorian era pleasure pier. Due to access restrictions on the North Castle cliff, the RNLI determined that contractor Dean & Dyball would build the new £5.5million lifeboat station from the sea. Only a supply of concrete was approved to be transported by road through the town. Construction, commissioning works and acceptance were completed in March 2005.
Tenby was given the honour of getting the first of the new Tamar class lifeboats, the Haydn Miller, which came on station for training in March 2006. Whilst the crew were still under training, the boat completed its first shout on 15 April 2006, when a 30 feet (9.1 m) yacht was taking on water off of Burry Port. Pumped out on scene, the yacht was then towed the 14 miles (23 km) back to Tenby harbour.
After being refused planning permission by appeal to the Welsh Assembly Government's Environment Minister Jane Davidson to demolish the old Grade II listed lifeboat station, which had been extended twice to accommodate larger and larger lifeboats, the RNLI eventually sold it into private hands. The new owner agreed purchase of the freehold from the Crown Estate, and then gained planning permission from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, subject to a Section 106 agreement with the town council. Subsequently converted into a four bedroom property, the conversion process later featured on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs.
Tenby has two lifeboats. The current Tamar class lifeboat is called "Haydn Miller", after the farmer who left £3m to the RNLI in his will. The current inshore D class lifeboat is called "Georgina Taylor", (the 3rd ILB donated by the legacy).
This station is classed as an Explore lifeboat station by the RNLI, classed as those lifeboat stations which aim to offer the best visitor experience. Open all year round with free access, you can go inside and look around the station, see the lifeboat and visit the RNLI gift shop. When not on call, the station offers free access in the summer months, and pre-booked tours in the winter.
The station and its lifeboat crews over its 150 years plus of operations have gained the following awards:
- Framed Letter of Thanks 3
- Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum 9
- RNLI Bronze Medal 5
- RNLI Silver Medal 10
- 1923-1930: John R Webb, first motorised lifeboat.
- RNLB Sir Galahad
- Tenby History
- "Boat station demolition refused". BBC Wales. 6 February 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Lifeboat station will be replaced". BBC Wales. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "New £5.5m home for Tenby lifeboat". BBC Wales. 1 March 2005. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Lifeboat first for Tenby station". BBC Wales. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Lifeboat completes first rescue". BBC Wales. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Tenby lifeboat station redevelopment plans approved". Western telegraph. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- Rachael Misstear (August 6, 2011). "Grand Designs for Tenby's old lifeboat house damages historic Castle Hill wall". Wales Online. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Tenby Lifeboat Station". Channel 4. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Tenby lifeboat named after donor". BBC Wales. 20 March 2010. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Bon voyage for old Tenby lifeboat". BBC Wales. 19 February 2007. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tenby Lifeboat Station.|
- The official website of Tenby lifeboat
- A chronological history of the Tenby lifeboat at the RNLI website