Aberdyfi lifeboat station
The station opened in 1837, managed by the harbour authorities. The RNLI helped fund the lifeboat, then took over the station in 1853. In 1862 crew member Owen Owen, 33, drowned after the lifeboat capsized during exercises. In 1863 local customs officer David Williams received an RNLI silver medal for rescuing the crew of a brig stranded on Aberdyfi bar. A new lifeboat house was constructed at a cost of £320 in 1886.
In 1897 the lifeboat crew were treated to a dinner in appreciation of their rescue of six men from the Norwegian brig Moringen as it disintegrated on the Moelynys sandbanks during a gale in June. Coxswain J Bell and his crew made three attempts to board the vessel, which had sailed from Drammen with timber for Newtown, Powys. Eventually they got a rope to the wreck along which the mariners slid to the lifeboat. Captain Bergstrom and his men were cheered by a large crowd of locals when they reached Aberdyfi. John Price, one of the rescuers, died aged 72 during a lifeboat rescue the following year.
A slipway was added in 1903. The lifeboat station closed in 1931. It reopened as an inshore lifeboat station in November 1963, based at the Outward Bound Sea School. In the intervening years Ellis Williams, the lifeboat’s bowman from 1920 to 1931, had carried out many rescues in his own boat. He received a Framed Letter of Thanks in 1972.
In 1974 the D-class inshore lifeboat was replaced by a larger Atlantic 21 lifeboat. That year, the new boat rescued a man who had fallen from a cabin cruiser during a gale and heavy seas. He said three children remained in the cruiser, now wrecked on the South Bank. Their rescue involved great personal risk for crew members including David Williams, who swam from the boat to the children. He later received a bronze medal, while helmsman Anthony Mills and crew member Andrew Coghill received the Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum.
The RNLI also gave the eldest child, Jayne Edmunds, an inscribed wristwatch. She had thown her father a lifejacket after he fell overboard, fired distress signals, instructed her friends to don lifejackets and later supported one of the children in the water.
The current boathouse was built in 1991. The upper floor was added in 1995 for improved crew facilities. The station’s Atlantic 75 lifeboat, B-758 Sandwell Lifeline, entered service in 1998.
The lifeboat service in the UK is provided not by government but by the RNLI, a charity which relies on donations from the public. Since it was established in 1824, the RNLI is estimated to have saved c.140,000 lives. It employs some crew members but most, 40,000 in total, are volunteers who leave their work, families or beds whenever their lifeboat is needed.
Postcode: LL35 0RA
Other SHIPWRECK HiPoints in this region:
Barmouth lifeboat station – one of the first RNLI medals awarded in 1825 for rescue from grounded ship
Aquila shipwreck – crew rescued by Aberystwyth residents in 1861, prompting foundation of local lifeboat