Exmouth RNLI: saving lives for two centuries

PUBLISHED: 11:51 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:18 13 December 2018

The Maria Noble  launching. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

The Maria Noble launching. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

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From the archives - we take a look at how Exmouth RNLI has changed over the centuries.

Exmouth Crew 2003. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesExmouth Crew 2003. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

For 215 years, generations of brave Exmouth volunteers have been saving lives at sea.

The RNLI adopted the local service and provided the first purpose-built lifeboat station in 1859 built to high institutional standards to fit the Victoria lifeboat and future vessels.

From 1961, larger mechanical lifeboats were moored in the River Exe and from 1966, this lifeboat station housed the first inshore lifeboats. The current boathouse opened in 2009.

Over the years, new technologies improved performance and safety; jets replaced oars; bespoke tractors and carriages replaced ropes and superior-designed lifejackets replaced cumbersome cork models. In November 2018, crew volunteers received new professional-grade kit, which is much lighter, waterproof and breathable than previous designs.

008 Crew Joseph Somes. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives008 Crew Joseph Somes. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

As a charity, the provision of all this equipment has only been possible due to our community’s generous donations and legacies.

For more information - visit exmouthlifeboat.org.uk or join a tour of the boathouse at weekends.

Modern day all-weather lifeboat (Shannon) launch. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesModern day all-weather lifeboat (Shannon) launch. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

The crew and their new Helly Hansen All-weather Lifeboat kit. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesThe crew and their new Helly Hansen All-weather Lifeboat kit. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

The Joseph Somes. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesThe Joseph Somes. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

New lifejackets in October 2012. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesNew lifejackets in October 2012. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

Crew of the Joseph Somes made valiant attempts to reach the wreck of the Tehwija in 1907.Crew of the Joseph Somes made valiant attempts to reach the wreck of the Tehwija in 1907.

The D255 navigating rocks during a rescue. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesThe D255 navigating rocks during a rescue. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

The D255 inshore lifeboat. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesThe D255 inshore lifeboat. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

The crew of 1997. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesThe crew of 1997. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

Duchess of Kent during her visit in 1971. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesDuchess of Kent during her visit in 1971. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

Gertrude on the water. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesGertrude on the water. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

Crew of the Catherine Harriet Eaton. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesCrew of the Catherine Harriet Eaton. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

Duchess of Kent pictured with Brian Rowsell during her visit in 1971. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesDuchess of Kent pictured with Brian Rowsell during her visit in 1971. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

A launch of the Catherine Harriet Eaton. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesA launch of the Catherine Harriet Eaton. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

The City of Birmingham crew. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesThe City of Birmingham crew. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

Launch D-364. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesLaunch D-364. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

Maria Noble and tractor. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archivesMaria Noble and tractor. Picture: Exmouth RNLI archives

The Victoria lifeboat was launched in Exmouth in 1859 Picture: Exmouth RNLIThe Victoria lifeboat was launched in Exmouth in 1859 Picture: Exmouth RNLI

The Victoria lifeboat was launched in Exmouth in 1859. Picture: Exmouth RNLIThe Victoria lifeboat was launched in Exmouth in 1859. Picture: Exmouth RNLI

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