Former Atlantic College lifeboat station
This was one of nine inshore rescue stations the RNLI created experimentally in 1963. College staff and students made up the crew. The station used college boats for rescues until it received an Atlantic 21 lifeboat in 1973. In 1968 G Unger, W de Vogel and P Allen received Letters of Appreciation after the rescue of four men from the wreck of the dredger Steepholm.
The college conducted experiments on the development of rapid rescue boats, under Rear Admiral Desmond Hoare’s supervision. He was the college’s headmaster, and a member of the RNLI’s management committee from 1969. He died in 1988.
The RNLI adapted his designs to form the Atlantic, or B class, lifeboats, named in honour of the college. The Atlantic 21 model proved such a success that in 1993 an Atlantic 75 version (7.5 metres long) was introduced. The Atlantic 85 (8.5 metres) followed in 2005. In 2010 alone, the RNLI’s B-class lifeboats launched 2,995 times and rescued 2,942 people, saving 101 lives.
In 1969 18-year-old Elizabeth Hostvedt, a Norwegian student at the college, was the first woman to gain the RNLI’s coxswain qualification. The RNLI’s first recorded emergency response involving a female crew member took place in 1971, when Penelope M Sutton was part of the crew dispatched to a Swedish motor cruiser thought to be in trouble.
In 1983 a new Atlantic 21 lifeboat, American Ambassador, was named by the USA’s ambassador to Britain. It was funded by donations from Americans in Britain and the USA. A new boathouse was provided at the same time.
Another boathouse was built in 1996. In June 2013, the lifeboat station closed and was replaced by a beach lifeguard support centre, operated by the college and RNLI.
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: CF61 1WF