Poole Lifeboat Station

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Poole Lifeboat Station
RNLI lifeboat station
Poole floating boathouse.jpg
Country England
County Dorset
Town Poole
Location The Quay, Poole, BH15 1HZ

50°42′46″N 1°59′32″W / 50.712765°N 1.992162°W / 50.712765; -1.992162 (Poole Lifeboat Station)

Founded 1865 at Sandbanks
1882 at Fisherman's Dock
1974 at Lilliput Marina
1989 at Poole Bridge
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Poole Lifeboat Station is the base for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) search and rescue operations at Poole, Dorset in England. The first lifeboat was stationed at Poole Harbour in 1865 and the present station was opened in 1988. Since 2008 it has operated a Tyne-class all weather boat (ALB) and an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat (ILB).


The first boathouse was built in 1865 at Sandbanks by the narrow entrance to the large, natural Poole Harbour. This was remote from the house in Poole which meant that the crew had to be collected by horse-drawn coach from the Antelope Hotel in the High Street and taken to Sandbanks.[1]

Fisherman's Dock lifeboat station

In 1882 a new boathouse was built on land leased from Poole Corporation on the Fisherman's Dock at the east end of Poole Quay. A dedicated slipway was built in front of the boathouse in 1897 as the public slipway was often blocked by other boats. In 1887 a flagstaff had been erected so that messages could be exchanged with Sandbanks. At this time the crew was summoned to launches by a signal rocket. In 1892 this was changed to a signal mortar but this reverted to rockets in 1914 as the mortar being discharged could be mistaken for an explosion at the nearby gas works.[1]

In 1939 a Surf motor lifeboat was placed on station and the last 'pulling and sailing' lifeboat at Poole was withdrawn. This was the Thomas Kirk Wright, which on 30 May 1940 sailed to Dunkirk as one of boats summoned to Operation Dynamo, indeed it was the first of 19 lifeboats to arrive there. It was manned by the Royal Navy but was damaged by enemy fire. After repairs a second trip across the channel was made on 2 June 1940 before eventually returning to more normal duties at Poole.[1]

An inflatable Inshore Rescue Boat was added to the station in 1964 but withdrawn in 1970, although by this time a Dell Quay Dory was also in use. This was withdrawn in 1985 but ten years later a B Class ILB was placed on station.[1]

The boathouse at Fisherman's Dock was closed in 1974 and a new station opened with the Poole Harbour Yacht Club at Lilliput Marina. The following year the old boathouse became a museum with the Thomas Kirk Wright as the main exhibit.[1] The museum was handed back to the council in 1991. It closed in 2004 but reopened in 2006.[1]

Another move came in 1989 when the lifeboat was moved back to Poole Quay, but this time at the west end beneath Poole Bridge. The following year new crew facilities and storerooms were constructed by adding a two-storey extension to the police office on Poole Quay. In 1994 a floating boathouse was placed next to the lifeboat mooring for the new ILB that took up service at Poole the following year.[1]


The crew facilities and storeroom occupies one part of a larger brick-built building facing the water on Poole Quay. The upper floor is set into the roof with a large window overlooking the lifeboat's pontoon. The boathouse for the ILB is moored alongside this pontoon and is constructed of corrugated metal.

Area of operation[edit]

The Tyne class lifeboat at Poole has an operating range of 240 nautical miles (440 km) and a top speed of 17 knots (31 km/h).[2] Adjacent all-weather boats are at Yarmouth Lifeboat Station to the east, and Swanage to the west. There are also ILBs at Mudeford and Lymington between Poole and Calshot.[3]

Current fleet[edit]

City of Sheffield
  • Tyne-class 47-023 City of Sheffield (Official Number 1131, built 1988, on station 2001)[4]
  • Atlantic 85 B-826 Sgt Bob Martin (On station 2008)[5]

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]

This list is incomplete

ON Name Built At Poole Class Comments
608 Harmar 1910 1910–1939 Peake

Motor lifeboats[edit]

ON Op. No. Name Built At Poole Class Comments
811 Thomas Kirk Wright 1939 1939–1962 Surf Preserved at Poole.
891 Bassett-Green 1951 1962–1969 Liverpool
873 George Elmy 1950 1969–1972 Liverpool
872 J B Couper of Glasgow 1949 1972–1974 Liverpool
1029 44-011 Augustine Courtauld 1974 1974–1983 Waveney
1089 33-07 Inner Wheel 1983 1983–2001 Breede

Inshore lifeboats and boarding boats[edit]

Op. No. Name At Poole Class Type Comments
 ? 1964–1970 D RFD PB16 May be different boats in different years
18-03 1967–1968 A Hatch
A-502 (ex 17-007) 1969–1972 A Hatch
A-500 (ex 17-005) 1972–1973 A Hatch
A-501 (ex 17-006) 1974–1975 A Hatch
A-502 (ex 17-007) 1975–1985 A Hatch
B-710 Friendly Forrester II 1995–2008 B Atlantic 75
B-736 Toshiba Wave Warrior 2008–2008 B Atlantic 75

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "History of Poole Lifeboat Station". Poole Lifeboat Station. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-0-7509-4858-6. 
  3. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. p. 67. 
  4. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 30–31. 
  5. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. p. 45. 

External links[edit]