Weymouth Lifeboat Station History

Above - Launch of Agnes Harriet in 1869, Weymouth's first Lifeboat.


In 1868, the Earl of Strafford offered to fund a lifeboat to replace the one that had been at Portland between 1826 and 1851. The offer was accepted and on the 26 January 1869 the lifeboat station was opened and the town's first lifeboat, the Agnes Harriet, was named at a ceremony held on the sands in front of a large crowd.

Ten lifeboats have followed;

  • 1887 Friern Watch,
  • 1903 Friern Watch,
  • 1924 Samuel Oakes (1st motor lifeboat),
  • 1929 LadyKylsant,
  • 1930 William & Clara Ryland,
  • 1957 Frank Spiller-Locke,
  • 1979 TonyVandervell,
  • 1998 Phyl Clare III (1st station ILB),
  • 1999 Robert Edgar,
  • 2002 Ernest & Mabel


First ILB for Weymouth

The first ILB to serve at Weymouth was the relief Atlantic 21, Elizabeth Bestwick, which arrived in 1995 to access the need for an ILB at this time the first lady crew members were enrolled. Four more relief Atlantic 21's did service here before the station's Atlantic 75 he Phyl Clare III arrived in 1998.

The early lifeboats at Weymouth were kept in the lifeboat house and launched down a slipway into the harbour when required. In 1924, the Centenary Year of the RNLI, Weymouth received its first motor lifeboat and the lifeboat house was re-built.

The arrival of the motor lifeboat also meant that a mechanic was required for the station. Prior to 1890 the crew were called by ringing a bell; this was replaced by a mortar in 1895. During 1897 arrangements were made locally for a tug to tow the lifeboat out of the harbour when answering a distress call, minimum charge £3 by day, £6 by night.


The RNLI, when considered appropriate, awarded medals for outstanding achievements in saving life at sea; seven medals have been awarded to members of the Weymouth lifeboat crew, and a further seven to nonlifeboat personnel. The first crew member to be rewarded with a medal was coxswain Fred Palmer in 1948; the next year he, and mechanic James McDermott, were awarded medals. A list of all medals attained by the Weymouth Lifeboat Station can be found here

Weymouth lifeboats are ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a doctor if required, to go to the aid of those who find themselves in danger at sea.

The lifeboats work closely with the coastguards and their helicopter as and when the need arises. Since the lifeboat station opened in 1869 Weymouth lifeboats have launched some 1700 times and have saved over 800 lives.

Weymouth's Arun class lifeboat Tony Vandervell was on station from 1976 until June 1999. It is now owned by the Finnish Lifeboat Service and renamed Mac Elliott, and is continuing in the service of saving lives at sea. The Robert Edgar has been sold and is now in New Zealand.

Ernest & Mabel

When the Severn class Ernest & Mabel arrived in 2002 in was named by the main donor Miss Beryl Taylor in memory of her late parents. A new pontoon had to be built for the new Severn class vessel.

Weymouth station has a full time coxswain and mechanic plus 23 volunteer crew to man the ALB and ILB. A list of all crew members and previous coxswain can be found by clicking the appropriate links.