Newhaven Lifeboat Station

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Newhaven Lifeboat Station
RNLI Lifeboat station
Newhaven lifeboat - - 2621832.jpg
Newhaven Lifeboat Station
Country England
County East Sussex
Region South East England
Town Newhaven
Location West Quay, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 9BT
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Style Steelframe Boathouse
built on stantions with
brick and block construction
Material Concrete, brick, block and Steel
Founded 1803 - 1809
re-established in 1825-1829 and 1852
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Visitation Classed as an Explore [1] station
Location of Newhaven Lifeboat station
within East Sussex

Newhaven Lifeboat Station is an RNLI[2] station located in the town of Newhaven in the English county of East Sussex in the United Kingdom.[3] The station currently operates as all-weather lifeboat station. The original station was established in 1803 and taken over by the RNLI in 1854.[4] The current lifeboat (2014) is the Severn class David and Elizabeth Acland (ON 1243).


Newhaven lifeboat station is situated on the west bank of the River Ouse within the Port of Newhaven which is one of only two navigable harbours between the Isle of Wight to the west and Dover to the east. The Port of Newhaven[5] is a busy commercial port and a ferry terminal.[6] The harbour opens out on to the English Channel, one of the busiest stretches of waterway in the world. [7]


Newhaven’s first lifeboat was established in 1803[5] when a lifeboat which had been built to a design by Henry Greathead,[5] the pioneering rescue lifeboat builder from South Shields, was placed on station in the town. The lifeboat was funded partly by a donation from Lloyd's of London, and the rest from locally raised donations.[8] The lifeboat was one of 31 of this type of lifeboat built by Greathead from his design of 1789 known as the Original. This type of lifeboat was designed to work in the shallow waters off the east coast of England[9] but in small and open harbours like Newhaven, the Greathead-class were not popular because of their weight and the large number of crew needed to man the boat.[9] Evidently this was the case at Newhaven and the lifeboat was not liked or trusted by the local volunteer lifeboat crew, and it was never launched to a service.[5] In 1809 the Greathead-class was taken from the station and sent to Brighton.[4]

In 1825 the forerunner of the RNLI, the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck supplied a lifeboat to the town. There was still no boathouse in the town and so this lifeboat when not in use was stored out in the open under a tarpaulin. This boat was on service at the town until 1829.

In 1852 Newhaven was provided with a lifeboat from the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society.[10] The lifeboat was a self-righting pulling lifeboat and she was named The Friend in Need. Subsequently it was agreed by the Society it would be wiser if the RNLI concentrated on rescuing lives at sea while the SFMBS helped the survivors or their bereaved families ashore, so in 1854 the Newhaven lifeboat, along with its other lifeboats in its fleet were taken over by the RNLI.

A boathouse was constructed in 1867 to house the RNLI’s first lifeboat, RNLB Thomas Chapman, which had replaced RNLB The Friend in Need in 1863. In 1909 a new lifeboat house and slipway were constructed on the east bank of the River Ouse.


Dates in service Class ON Op. No. Name Comments
1908–1912 37ft Self-righter ON 407 Michael Henry
1912–1930 38ft Self-righter ON 628 Sir Fitzroy Clayton
1930–1959 45ft 6in Watson-class ON 730 Cecil and Lilian Philpott
1959–1977 47ft Watson-class ON 950 Kathleen Mary Last slipway launched boat
1977–1985 Waveney-class ON 1045 44-019 Louis Marchesi of Round Table
1985–1999 Arun-class ON 1106 52-32 Keith Anderson
1999–present Severn-class ON 1243 17-21 David and Elizabeth Acland

Neighbouring Station Locations

See also

Royal National Lifeboat Institution List of RNLI stations


  1. "Visiting stations". Explanation of the visitor-classification of the RNLI stations. The RNLI - copyright © RNLI 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  2. "Newhaven Lifeboat Station – RNLI website". Home page of the Newhaven station. RNLI © 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  3. OS Explorer map 122: Brighton and Hove. Scale: 1:25 000. Publisher:Ordnance Survey – Southampton B2 edition. Publishing Date:2009. ISBN 978 0319240816
  4. 4.0 4.1 For Those In Peril – The Lifeboat Service of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Station by Station. Author: Leach, Nicholas. Publisher: Silver Link Publishing Ltd, First Issue 1999. Work:Part 2, South Coast of England – Eastbourne to Weston-super-Mare, Page 71, Newhaven Lifeboat Station. ISBN 1 85794 129 2
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Heroes All! – The story of the RNLI. Author: Beilby, Alec. Publisher: Patrick Stephens Ltd, First edition, 1992. Work; Chapter 17, Page 170, description of the Station. ISBN 9 781852604196
  6. Ports of the World – 1979. Editor: Reithmuller, John. Publisher: Derek H. Deere. Thirty Second Edition. Work: Page 109, The Port of Newhaven. ISBN 0510491553
  7. "The Dover Strait". Reference to the amount of shipping in the channel. Maritime and Coastguard Agency. 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  8. "Historic Newhaven". Reference to the funding of the Greathead lifeboat. Newhaven Town Council. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Riders of the Storm – The story of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Author: Cameron, Ian. Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. First Edition, 2002. Work: Chapter 1, Beyond all human aid. Page 19. reference to the Greathead lifeboat and its utilization. ISBN 9780297607908
  10. "History of the Shipwrecked Mariners Society". History Details about the SFMRBS. Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society. Retrieved 11 April 2014.