The RNLI has been operating for more than 150 years in Shoreham. With the exception of a five-year period from 1924 to 1929, there has been an all-weather boat operational at Shoreham ever since. But the lifeboat station on Kingston Beach was built in 1933 to house an eight-tonne lifeboat and the Tyne-class lifeboat which arrived on station in 1990 weighed 28-tonnes causing the slipway at the boathouse to sink and collapse.
Also facilities within the building meant there was no dedicated changing facility for the crew and much of the lower floor flooded at high tide. So in November, 2007, the RNLI sent out its own SOS by launching a £1million community appeal for a new lifeboat station at Shoreham.
The aim of this was to help fund a brand new boathouse with modern facilities for the crew including a larger boat hall, crew training room, proper drying facilities for wet crew kit, changing facilities and a viewing platform for the public as well as being able to house a state-of-the-art Tamar-class lifeboat.
In January, 2009, the Tyne-class lifeboat the Lady Hermione Colwyn was launched for the last time down the old lifeboat station’s slipway before being moored afloat by the locks for the new build to begin. A few days later the bulldozers moved into knock down the old station but most of the lifeboat crew missed the historic occasion, as they were alerted to an emergency by the coastguard and launched the offshore lifeboat.
The old Shoreham lifeboat station
The old lifeboat station being demolished in January 2009
Hermione Lady Colwyn leaving Shoreham in the early hours for the last time ever (April 2010)
The framework going up for the new lifeboat station
The inaugural launch from the new boathouse
The new boathouse
While work began to build the new lifeboat station and two new slipways, the crew were housed in temporary accommodation on Kingston Beach and the inshore lifeboat was launched using a tractor. In April 2010 the station’s Lady Hermione Colwyn lifeboat, was retired after 20 years service and taken back to Poole. She was the last of the Tyne-class fast slipway boats to be built by the RNLI.
The new lifeboat station was finally completed in October, 2010 and the station’s new Tamar lifeboat arrived in Shoreham on December 10 and had her first operational shout two days later!
The lifeboat is named Enid Collett, after the deceased donor, whose generous legacy funded the majority of the £2.7million cost of the boat. She is the first Tamar-class lifeboat to go on service at a lifeboat station in the RNLI’s south east region. The station’s D-class inshore lifeboat is housed in a modern built shed and now back to being launched on its new slipway.