Porthcawl lifeboat station
Porthcawl lifeboat was founded in 1860, with a new boathouse on the main promenade. By then local people had already saved many lives off the coast, amassing eight silver medals for gallantry.
The lifeboat station closed in 1902, after closure of the town’s dock. Residents continued to make rescues, and a bronze medal was awarded to William HB Cotton in 1929 for putting out to sea to help the crew of a stricken steamship.
As leisure activities grew, an inshore lifeboat station was established at Porthcawl in 1965 with a D-class boat. The current boathouse was built in 1996 to house the B-class Atlantic 75 lifeboat Giles, along with the tractor which tows it to the sea for launching.
In February 2002 the Porthcawl crew rescued two anglers who had been swept off the pier in a force 10 storm. With waves exceeded four metres, the sea was far rougher than B-class boats are designed for. This bravery was rewarded with a bronze medal for helmsman Nick Beale, Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum to crew members Riccardo Rava and Stephen Knipe, and a Framed Letter of Thanks to helmsman Stephen Jones.
In 2004 helmsman Aileen Jones received a bronze medal after the rescue of two people and the fishing vessel Gower Pride near Nash sandbank. Aileen was the first lifeboat woman in 116 years to receive that accolade. Crew member Simon Emms received the Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum.
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: CF36 3YR
FOOTNOTES: More Porthcawl rescues