Minehead Lifeboat Station

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Minehead Lifeboat Station
Minehead lifeboat station 2009.jpg
Minehead Lifeboat Station is located in Somerset
Minehead Lifeboat Station
General information
TypeRNLI Lifeboat Station
LocationQuay West, TA24 5UL
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates51°12′50″N 3°28′31″W / 51.2140°N 3.4753°W / 51.2140; -3.4753Coordinates: 51°12′50″N 3°28′31″W / 51.2140°N 3.4753°W / 51.2140; -3.4753
OwnerRoyal 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.[1] 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.[2]

In 1939 the station's pulling and sailing boat was withdrawn and replaced by a motor lifeboat.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.[3]

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 This proved a success so on 20 May 1973 the all-weather lifeboat was withdrawn.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.[2] 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.[4]

Fundraising started in 2021 to modernise the facilities and to enlarge the boat house so that both lifeboats could be launched more quickly.[5]


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[edit]

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.[6] 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.[7]

Current lifeboats[edit]

Richard and Elizabeth Deaves (left) and Christine at sea

Former lifeboats[edit]

'ON' is the RNLI's sequential Official Number; 'Op. No.' is the operational number painted onto the boat.

Pulling and sailing lifeboats[edit]

ON Name Built At Minehead Class
477[10] George Leicester 1901 1901–1927 Liverpool
494[11] Hopwood 1902 1927–1930[Note 1] Liverpool
626[12] Arthur Lionel 1912 1930–1939 Liverpool

Motor lifeboats[edit]

ON Name Built At Minehead Class
816[13] Kate Greatorex 1939 1939–1951[Note 2] Surf
882[14] B.H.M.H. 1951 1951–1973[Note 3] Liverpool

Inshore lifeboats[edit]

Op. No. Name Built At Minehead Class Type
D177[15]  – 1970 1970–1983 D Zodiac III
C500[16]  – 1972 1974–1978 C Zodiac IV
B544[17] Catherine Plumbley 1976 1976–1994[Note 4] B Atlantic 21
D295[18]  – 1984 1984–1992 D Zodiac III
D420[19] Leslie D 1992 1992–1999 D EA16
B708[20] Bessie 1994 1994–2007[Note 5] B Atlantic 75
D549[21] George and Christine 1999 1999–2009 D EA16


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Kate Greatorex is undergoing restoration at Saint Denis Les Sans in France.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Catherine Plumbley remained in use until 1998, mostly in the relief fleet.
  5. ^ Bessie has been the Baltimore Lifeboat since 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History". Minehead Lifeboat Station. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Minehead History". RNLI. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  3. ^ Farr 1970, p. 56.
  4. ^ "Minehead RNLI lifeboat station on track for swifter launching". RNLI. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Minehead lifeboat station set for £1m overhaul by RNLI". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  6. ^ Wake-Walker 2008, p. 113.
  7. ^ Denton 2010, p. 68.
  8. ^ Denton 2010, p. 53.
  9. ^ Denton 2010, p. 64.
  10. ^ Denton 2010, pp. 12–13.
  11. ^ Denton 2010, p. 12.
  12. ^ Denton 2010, pp. 16–17.
  13. ^ Denton 2010, pp. 24–25.
  14. ^ Denton 2010, pp. 28–29.
  15. ^ Denton 2010, p. 56.
  16. ^ Denton 2010, p. 65.
  17. ^ Denton 2010, p. 50.
  18. ^ Denton 2010, p. 58.
  19. ^ Denton 2010, p. 60.
  20. ^ Denton 2010, p. 51.
  21. ^ 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.

External links[edit]