The small town of Ilfracombe has had a lifeboat for nearly 200 years to offer a rescue service up and down our hazardous coast.
Crewed by volunteers, our current two boats are regularly called out on shouts. The volunteers’ pagers go off and they leave whatever they are doing to get to the lifeboat station as quickly as possible, get into the boats, and go to the aid of whoever is in need in the water or on the coast.
From Easter to autumn, we try to keep the lifeboat station open daily for visitors. You can visit to talk to our knowledgeable volunteers about shouts, the boats or the station itself. You can see the boats, view our intricate models of our past lifeboats, read the historic service boards. You may even be able to see inside the massive all-weather lifeboat, the Barry and Peggy High Foundation, our modern, high-tech Shannon class lifeboat.
Each week, our crew launch on training exercises. This generally takes place on Thursday evenings at 6pm. You are more than welcome to come along and watch.
Around the corner from the station itself, is our shop where you can buy gifts, cards, lifeboat models, books and even fishing bait. Proceeds from all your purchases go towards the work of the RNLI.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and several inland lifeboat stations. The RNLI also has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches and operates a specialist flood rescue team.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service, tens of thousands of volunteers raise funds, give safety advice and help in their museums, shops and offices.