Chatham Historic Dockyard: RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection


The RNLI houses its collection of Lifeboats within one of the sheds at Chatham Dockyard. The collection contains an example of many of the different classes and types of lifeboat used since the RNLI’s foundation in the late 19th century. As such you can visually trace the development from the rowing boats to those more recognisable as Lifeboats today.

‘St Paul’. The oldest lifeboat in the collection entered service in 1897 spending the next 34 years at Kessingland in Suffolk. Credited with saving 18 lives.
‘Lizzie Porter’ entered service in 1909 and spent the following 27 years at stations in Northumbria. Credited with saving 113 lives
‘Helen Blake’ saw service for 20 years from 1939
‘Susan Ashley’ spent most of its service (1948-79) at Sennen Cove in Cornwall. Credited with saving 67 lives.
‘ North Foreland’ spent 27 years at Margate in Kent
‘Grace Darling’ (1954-84)
‘JG Greaves of Sheffield’ (1958-93)
Waveney Class Lifeboat (1967-99). 44-001 was the class prototype and spent its service after trials in the RNLI reserve fleet. Credited with saving 100 lives
Early inshore rescue boat. This example of the McClachin class served at Weston-Super Mare in the west country from 1970-83 and is credited with saving 60 lives
Atlantic 21 class inshore boat. (1970-1999). Some are still in service with marine rescue around the world in Australia, Finland and Poland.





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