The first Dartmouth Lifeboats

There was a Lifeboat Station at Dartmouth from 1878 until 1896.

The Inauguration of the first Dartmouth Lifeboat took place on 23 Oct 1878. She was named Maud Hargreaves. Miss Maud Hargreaves was the deceased daughter of MHenry and Amanda Shawrs Emma Hargreaves, who lived in Claygate, Surrey. The lifeboat was named by a friend of Mrs Hargreaves, Mr Walter Austin.

The Lifeboat House was built at Sandquay by L C Pillar & Co, having been given the contract in early July. The ten oared lifeboat was built by Messrs Wolfe & Son of Poplar, London. The 33ft x 8 ½ft boat had a harbour trial on the Limehouse Canal, London. She was a self righting boat with a self water ejection system. The boat arrived by rail at Kingswear on 22 Oct.

Mrs Hargreaves and Mr Austin arrived at the Castle Hotel on Monday 21 Oct. The Lifeboat was launched from the slipway on the New Ground that had been built by Redway and Sons. Whilst passing Sandquay they rescued a twelve year old boy who had fallen in the water, to the cheers of the watching crowd.

The President of the Lifeboat Committee was Chas. Chalker – Post master.
Capt Charles Lewis, the ex-Captain of the Dartmouth Steam Ferry Company cross channel ferry Eclair was in command. The 2nd Coxswain was R Witcher. Crew: T Richards, C Rogers, J Stevens, S Katzias, C Balkham, T Chaice, W Collins, Jas Stevens, R Stanicombe, A Oman, W Dodd, W Wright, J Memery, Albert Sims. Extra men: A Collins, T Matthews, Benj. Scantlebury, R Tulley, J Bumber? and R White.

 After ten years the lifeboat Maud Hargreaves was replaced by a new twelve oared and sailing lifeboat Henry and Amanda Shaw. She was 34ft x 8ft and had a new water ballasting system. In 1891 it was reported that there had been no practice in bad weather and they had failed to answer a call because no crew could be mustered. On 11 January 1894 she attended the Brixham ketch Prince of Wales stranded near Kingswear Castle. A tug had taken the vessel in tow and was heading back to the harbour when the lifeboat arrived. Four Dartmouth lifeboatmen boarded her and assisted at the pumps enabling her to be safely beached one hour later. During the summer months the lifeboat was housed at Sandquay. In the winter the boat was kept at moorings in Warfleet Creek. In the eighteen years that there was a RNLI lifeboat in Dartmouth they only launched three times and only assisted one vessel. In 1896 the boat was withdrawn.

Information for this article was taken from RNLI sources, The Chronicles of Dartmouth by Don Collinson and Dartmouth Museum.

The current Dartmouth Lifeboat

On 8 August 2007 the relief inshore lifeboat D520 "Bob Savage" was transferred to Dartmouth for evaluation.  The inshore lifeboat station was completed in October at a cost of £175,000.  Dart Lifeboat Station was formally established by the Trustees Committee on 7 November 2007. 

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland  I  RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 01073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240 and RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 are all companies registered at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ. Images & copyright © RNLI 2008.