Skegness Lifeboat Station

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Skegness Lifeboat Station
Flag of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.svg
Lifeboat Station - Skegness - - 780022.jpg
Skegness Lifeboat Station
Skegness Lifeboat Station is located in Lincolnshire
Skegness Lifeboat Station
General information
TypeRNLI Lifeboat Station
LocationTower Esplanade, Skegness, Lincolnshire, PE25 3HH
Coordinates53°08′30.12″N 0°20′48.24″E / 53.1417000°N 0.3467333°E / 53.1417000; 0.3467333Coordinates: 53°08′30.12″N 0°20′48.24″E / 53.1417000°N 0.3467333°E / 53.1417000; 0.3467333
Opened1830 taken over by RNLI in 1864
OwnerRoyal National Lifeboat Institution

Skegness Lifeboat Station is an RNLI operated lifeboat station located in the town of Skegness in the English county of Lincolnshire.[1] The station is located on the south-east coast north of the Wash and south of the Humber Estuary. This area of the British coastline is characterised by many shoals and constantly changing sandbanks, many of which lie between the town and the East Dudgeon Lightship.[2] The current station was built in 1990 and was the first in the British Isles built especially to house a Mersey-class lifeboat. The boathouse also accommodates an Inshore Lifeboat and a souvenir shop.[3] There are currently two lifeboats stationed at Skegness (2013). They are the Inshore D-class Lifeboat RNLB Marie Theresa Bertha Barras (D-792) and the Shannon-class AWB RNL Joel and April Grunnill (ON 1324)


The first lifeboat service in Skegness was organized by the Lincolnshire Coast Shipwreck Association who placed a lifeboat at the Gibraltar Point coastguard station. In 1859 the lifeboat and boathouse was moved from Gibraltar Point to a position in Skegness, among sand dunes to a location now called Lifeboat Avenue.

The station was taken under the control of the RNLI in 1864 who had a new boathouse constructed. The location of this first RNLI station was in Lifeboat Avenue close to the original station. It is now a privately owned dwelling.

The RNLI built yet another new boathouse in 1892. this was located on Skegness South Parade to the south of the clock tower. This boathouse had an access doors for the lifeboat at either end of the building. There was also a watch room constructed on the first floor. This station was still in use until 1990 when it was sold to a private buyer.

The RNLI placed an inshore lifeboat at Skegness in May 1964. The ILB was kept in a small house close to the main beach until it was moved in 1990 to the new lifeboat station on the Tower Esplanade.

In 1990 it was decided that the cover for this area of the Lincolnshire coast would be greatly improved with the placing of a Mersey-class all-weather lifeboat on Skegness. To accommodate the new lifeboat a new purpose made station was constructed for the Mersey-class lifeboat on the Tower Esplanade. The inshore lifeboat was also placed within the same building as well as improved crew and equipment facilities. The building also included a souvenir shop to help with branch fund raising

On 20 May 2016, the Skegness D-class lifeboat, RNLB Peterborough Beer Festival IV (D-739) was taking part in a search for a missing person when a fire started on board. The fire spread rapidly, and after issuing a mayday, abandoned the vessel, swimming 200m to shore while the lifeboat sank. The RNLI started recovery operations, but suspect the damage is severe.[4][5]

Notable rescues and awards[edit]

1854, Atlanta[edit]

Samual Moody[6][7] had been on the Skegness lifeboat as crew and as Coxswain for a considerable time. Back in 1851 he was sent a recommendation from the Lincoln County Association for having personally assisted in the saving of 53 lives over a period of 21 years. On 18 October 1854[7] Coxswain Moody and his crew launched there lifeboat out to the stricken vessel Atlanta out of Shields. The brig had been driven on to the shore in a north-north-easterly gale three miles north of Skegness. The Skegness lifeboat had to be drawn up to the beach from the town by six horses before her launch.[7] Aboard the vessel was the captain, his wife and child and eight more members of its crew.[8] In pitch black and in heavy seas coxswain Moody took the private lifeboat out to the vessel and rescued all aboard. For his part in the rescue, Moody was awarded a Silver Medal.[7]

1875, the barge Star[edit]

On 5 December 1875[9] the lifeboat Herbert Ingram (first) had to be pulled two miles along the beach to rescue the Colchester barge Star, which had been on passage from Hull to Poole when it was driven aground at Winthorne Gap in a fresh easterly gale. At 6 am in the morning the lifeboat was launched through heavy breaking surf into a headwind and took twenty minutes to reach the casualty.[9] Two crew men were immediately taken off the stricken vessel, but the master fell into the water between the two boats. Samual Moody and George Chesnutt, at great risk to themselves immediately went into the water with a line and held on to the master whilst the lifeboat was rowed to shore. For their bravery in this rescue both Moody and Chesnutt were awarded RNLI silver medals.[9]

1912, the Norwegian brig Azha[edit]

An outstanding rescue occurred on 13 November as she had suffered heavy storm damage off the Humber and drifted south for 4 days, helpless. She was waterlogged and afloat only because she carried pit-props. Her 6 Norwegians and 2 Swedish crew were close to death when she was seen from Skegness. The 8-oared “Samuel Lewis”, the last unpowered lifeboat, was launched with Coxwain Matthew Grunnill and his nephew Montague as Second. The weather was still very severe but the lifeboat managed to get alongside the Azha, aground on the Skegness Middle Sand, and take off her 8 crew. The brig was breaking up and was abandoned. The lifeboat could only get to shore, late in the day, further South. King Haakon VII of Norway awarded the 2 Coxwains with silver medals and written thanks with a £20 award to the crew for their lifesaving work - just in time.

"Skegness Lifeboats - An illustrated history" by Nicholas Leach 2008

December 1965, the Sea Gem[edit]

Oakley-class lifeboat Charles Fred Grantham (ON 977) was one of several rescue boats launched following the sinking the previous day of an Oil rig called Sea Gem 47 miles north-west of the Norfolk town of Cromer.[3] Also involved in the search were the Wells-next-the-Sea Oakley-class lifeboat Ernest Tom Neatherercoat (ON 982), the relief Sheringham Oakley-class lifeboat James and Catherine Macfarlane (ON 989), Cromer lifeboat Henry Blogg (ON 840) and the Humber Watson-class lifeboat City of Bradford III (ON 911).[10] All the lifeboats were involved in this extensive search for survivors in heavy seas and a gale-force wind. On board the Sea Gem when she sank were thirty two crew.[10] Nineteen of the crew were taken aboard the steamship Baltrova and five were known to have perished.[10] Eight other of her crew were missing. The Skegness boat searched for 14 hours in freezing conditions.[3] The eight missing men were never recovered. For the lifeboats part in this long and arduous search the RNLI sent the station a letter of appreciation for their determination and high standard of seamanship during the service.


All weather Boats[11][edit]

Dates in service Class ON Name Photo
1825−1864 Plenty, 8 oars Unnamed lifeboats of the Lincolnshire

Coast Shipwreck Association

1864−1874 Self-Righter, 8 oars Herbert Ingram
1874−1888 Self-Righter, 10 oars Herbert Ingram II
1888−1906 Self-Righter, 12 oars ON 203 Ann, John and Mary
1906−1932 Liverpool-class, 12 oars ON 554 Samuel Lewis
1932−1953 Liverpool-class, motor ON-760 Anne Allen
1953−1964 Liverpool-class, motor ON 833 The Cuttle
1964−1990 Oakley-class ON 977 Charles Fred Grantham
1990−2017 Mersey-class ON 1166 Lincolnshire Poacher Lincolnshire Poacher.jpg
2017–present Shannon-class ON 1324 Joel and April Grunnill SKEGGNESS SHANNON CLASS 13-17 RNLB JOEL AND APRIL GRUNNILL.jpg

Inshore Lifeboats[11][edit]

Dates in service Class Op. No. Name Comments
1964 D-class (RFD PB16) D-15 unnamed
1965−1972 D-class (RFD PB16) D-58 unnamed
1973−1987 D-class (Zodiac III) D-212 unnamed
1987−1994 D-class (EA16) D-326 Michel Phillipe Wolvers
1994−2002 D-class (EA16) D-460 Leicester Fox
2002−2009 D-class (EA16) D-573 Leicester Fox II
2009−2010 D-class (EA16) D-538 Tom Broom
2010−2016 D-class (IB1) D-739 Peterborough Beer Festival IV Destroyed in fire 20/05/16
2016–present D-class (IB1) D-792 Marie Theresa Bertha Barrass

Talus MB-H launch tractor[edit]

Dates in service Class ON Reg. No. Photo
1990 Continuous track launch tractor T-93 A496 CUX
????–2006 Continuous track launch tractor T-117 L784 JNT Practice Launch of The Seahouses Lifeboat (5) - - 984788.jpg
2006–2017 Continuous track launch tractor T-114 JI26 WUJ Ready for action. - - 401758.jpg
2017–present Shannon launch and recovery system SC-t11 HJ16JVU

New Lifeboat[edit]

The station at Skegness will be given a new lifeboat, which is expected to be on station in early 2017. This will replace the current Mersey-class lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher who by then will be reaching the end of her expected operational life.[12] The new lifeboat is a Shannon-class lifeboat and cost £2.2 million. Funding for the new lifeboat will come partly form a donation made by Mr Joel Grunnill who died 2011. Joel Grunnill was a volunteer who put in 45 years work helping the RNLI. The new lifeboat will be named after him and his cousin April who was also a keen volunteer.

Neighbouring stations[edit]


  1. ^ OS Explorer map: Skegness, Alford & Spilsby: (1:25 000): ISBN 0319238229
  2. ^ Skegness Lifeboats – An illustrated History. Author: Leach, Nicholas. Publisher:Landmark Publishing Ltd. Year Published:2008. ISBN 978-1-84306-423-7
  3. ^ a b c 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 1, East Coast of England – Berwick to Hastings, Page 42, Skegness. ISBN 1 85794 129 2
  4. ^ "Skegness lifeboat crew forced to swim after boat sinks". BBC News. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Crew flee Skegness Inshore Lifeboat after fire starts onboard". Skegness Standard. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Skegness People - Samual Moody - lifeboat coxswain". Skegness Magazine. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Lifeboat Gallantry – RNLI Medals and how they were won. Author:Cox, barry. Publisher:Spink & Son Ltd and the RNLI. Work: Page 109, MOODY, Samuel. ISBN 0 907605 89 3
  8. ^ "Skegness First Lifeboat Rescues – 1833 to 1860 – List of rescues including the Atalanta and the 11 lives saved". Skegness Magazine. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Lifeboat Gallantry – RNLI Medals and how they were won. Author:Cox, barry. Publisher:Spink & Son Ltd and the RNLI. Work: Page 160, MOODY, Samuel. CHESNUTT, George. ISBN 0 907605 89 3
  10. ^ a b c Lifeboats of the Humber – Two centuries of gallantry. Author: Leach, Nicholas. Publisher:Amberley Publishing, first edition 2010. Work: Chapter 8, The last Watson Lifeboat, page72. ISBN 978 1 84868 875 9
  11. ^ a b "RNLI Skegness Lifeboats and Lifeguards". Skegness RNLI Lifeboat Station. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  12. ^ "New Lifeboat For Skegness". ITV news. 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.