Minehead Lifeboat Station
|Minehead Lifeboat Station|
|Type||RNLI Lifeboat Station|
|Location||Quay West, TA24 5UL|
|Owner||Royal National Lifeboat Institution|
Minehead Lifeboat Station is the base for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) search and rescue operations at Minehead, Somerset in England. The first lifeboat was stationed in the town in 1901 but since 1976 two inshore lifeboats (ILBs) have been operated, a B Class rigid-hulled boat and an inflatable D Class.
Minehead is on the Somerset coast at the east end of the cliffs of Exmoor. The RNLI built a boathouse at a cost of £785 in 1901 and the first lifeboat was placed in service on 11 December. For two years the boat was launched across the beach using skids but from 1903 a carriage was provided. The boat house was modified in 1950 by the addition of a garage for the tractor that now pulled the lifeboat in and out of the sea. In 1993 the building was modified again to take a new boat and the opportunity was taken to modernise the crew facilities and add a gift shop alongside.
In 1939 the station's pulling and sailing boat was withdrawn and replaced by a motor lifeboat. In December 1941 the lifeboat's coxswain and signaller took the coxswain's own boat out in response to reports of wreckage, but it struck a naval mine and was sunk with the loss of both their lives.
In 1970 an ILB was allocated to the station; it was kept in the tractor garage. This proved a success so on 20 May 1973 the all-weather lifeboat was withdrawn. The following year a second, larger ILB arrived. It was the first RNLI station to use a Tooltrak tractor to launch its D Class lifeboat. This replaced an older Argocat tractor in 2011.
Fundraising started in 2021 to modernise the facilities and to enlarge the boat house so that both lifeboats could be launched more quickly.
The stone-built boat house is situated at the western end of the town beyond the harbour where there is access to water at all states of the tide. There is a hard standing in front of the boat house but boats are taken down the pebble beach when launched. The original boat house has been extended with a garage at the back and a fund-raising gift shop on the west side.
Area of operation
The Atlantic 85 can be launched in Force 7 winds (Force 6 at night) and can operate at up to 35 knots (65 km/h) for 2½ hours. Adjacent lifeboats are at Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station to the west, and Burnham-on-Sea Lifeboat Station to the east. If a larger all-weather boat is needed in the area it may come from Ilfracombe or across the Bristol Channel from Barry Dock.
- Atlantic 85 B824 Richard and Elizabeth Deaves (on station 2007)
- D-class (IB1) (IB1) D712 Christine (on station 2009)
'ON' is the RNLI's sequential Official Number; 'Op. No.' is the operational number painted onto the boat.
Pulling and sailing lifeboats
|816||Kate Greatorex||1939||1939–1951[Note 2]||Surf|
|Op. No.||Name||Built||At Minehead||Class||Type|
|B544||Catherine Plumbley||1976||1976–1994[Note 4]||B||Atlantic 21|
|B708||Bessie||1994||1994–2007[Note 5]||B||Atlantic 75|
|D549||George and Christine||1999||1999–2009||D||EA16|
- Hopwood was the Portrush Lifeboat from 1902 until 1924. In 1934 it was sold and was last reported converted to a yacht on the River Thames carrying the name Gladrian in 1977.
- Kate Greatorex is undergoing restoration at Saint Denis Les Sans in France.
- B.H.M.H. became part of the RNLI relief fleet in 1973, but from 1981 until 1984 it became the Clogher Head Lifeboat, after which it was sold. It was last reported in use as the pleasure boat The Queen Eileen on the River Thames at Windsor in 2007.
- Catherine Plumbley remained in use until 1998, mostly in the relief fleet.
- Bessie has been the Baltimore Lifeboat since 2008.
- "History". Minehead Lifeboat Station. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- "Minehead History". RNLI. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- Farr 1970, p. 56.
- "Minehead RNLI lifeboat station on track for swifter launching". RNLI. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- "Minehead lifeboat station set for £1m overhaul by RNLI". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
- Wake-Walker 2008, p. 113.
- Denton 2010, p. 68.
- Denton 2010, p. 53.
- Denton 2010, p. 64.
- Denton 2010, pp. 12–13.
- Denton 2010, p. 12.
- Denton 2010, pp. 16–17.
- Denton 2010, pp. 24–25.
- Denton 2010, pp. 28–29.
- Denton 2010, p. 56.
- Denton 2010, p. 65.
- Denton 2010, p. 50.
- Denton 2010, p. 58.
- Denton 2010, p. 60.
- Denton 2010, p. 51.
- Denton 2010, p. 61.
- Farr, Grahame (1970). Ships and Harbours of Exmoor. Dulverton: The Exmoor Press. ISBN 0-900131-15-2.
- Denton, Tony (2010). Handbook 2010. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society.
- Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7509-4858-6.
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