Click here to edit title

Click here to edit subtitle

Station History

The Plymouth Lifeboat crew photographed in 1970.

Further photos of the past Plymouth Lifeboats and their Crews can be found in the Gallery.

1803  Plymouth was one of the first places on the coast of Great Britain to have a lifeboat. The first lifeboat at Plymouth was built by Henry Greathead, who built the first lifeboat in 1789.

Between 1824 and 1862 many rescues were carried out off the coast and 14 Silver Medals were awarded for gallantry.

1862 The station was re-established by the RNLI and a boathouse was built on the western side of Mill Bay.

1884 A Silver Medal was awarded to William Teel on his retirement after 22 years service.

1898 A new boathouse and slipway were built near the West Pier.

1926 The station’s first motor lifeboat was placed on permanent moorings in Millbay Harbour.

1928 A Centenary Vellum was presented to the station.

1942 A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Walter Crowther and Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum to each of the eight crew members for rescuing two men from a RAAF Sunderland flying boat.

1943 Plymouth’s lifeboat, Robert and Marcella Beck, was used by the Admiralty in Iceland for lifesaving service on the northern convoy route to Russia. She was replaced by a lifeboat lent by Belgium to the lifeboat fleet.

1967 An inshore lifeboat (ILB) station was established in May.

1974 A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain John Dare for assisting the Merc Enterprise in difficulties in hurricane force winds and phenomenal seas.

1978 Bronze Medals were awarded to Second Coxswain Patrick John Marshall and Mechanic Cyril Alcock for rescuing two crew from the trawler Elly Gerda, which was in difficulties in severe weather conditions off Looe Island.

1983 The ILB was withdrawn on 31 December.

1985 The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Coxswain John Dare for rescuing five crew from the sinking trawler Saint Simeon.

1988 An Arun class lifeboat was placed on service.
The station relocated to Sutton Harbour.

1992 A new berth was provided in Millbay Marina and a three-storey granite building was restored to provide improved crew and souvenir sales facilities.

1995 The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum was awarded to Coxswain Patrick Marshall for rescuing five crew and saving the fishing vessel Senex Fidelis.

2002 A Bronze Medal was awarded to Second Coxswain Sean Marshall and The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum to Coxswain David Milford for saving four crew from a yacht.

2003 Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to Coxswain David Milford and Second Coxswain Sean Marshall for saving the yacht March Hare and one person on the night of 9 June 2002.

A new Severn class lifeboat was placed on service on 11 February. Her Majesty The Queen officially named the lifeboat Sybil Mullen Glover at Queen Anne’s Battery Marina on 23 July.

A Bicentenary Vellum was awarded to commemorate 200 years as a lifeboat station.

2004 An inshore lifeboat station was established on 31 March with the B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat, B-775 Millennium Forrester.

2005 Improved facilities and a new launching scheme were completed in June.


Station honours

At Plymouth Lifeboat Station the following awards have been made:

Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum 13
Bronze Medal 5
Silver Medal 15