World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

St Ives Lifeboat Station

Article Id: WHEBN0029658125
Reproduction Date:

Title: St Ives Lifeboat Station  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: St Ives, Cornwall, William Fleming (GC), 1901 Caister Lifeboat Disaster, Kingstown lifeboat disaster, Lynmouth Lifeboat Station
Collection: Lifeboat Stations in Cornwall, St Ives, Cornwall
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

St Ives Lifeboat Station

St Ives Lifeboat Station
RNLI lifeboat station
Country United Kingdom
County Cornwall
Town St Ives
Location Wharf Road, TR26 1LF

Founded First boat 1840
Present building 1994
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution
St Ives

St Ives Lifeboat Station is the base for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) search and rescue operations at St Ives, Cornwall in the United Kingdom. The first lifeboat was built for the town in 1840 and the present boathouse was opened in 1994. It operates a Mersey-class all weather boat (AWB) and an IB1 inshore lifeboat (ILB).


  • History 1
    • Wrecks 1.1
  • Description 2
  • Area of operation 3
  • Lifeboats 4
    • Pulling and sailing lifeboats 4.1
    • Motor lifeboats 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


St Ives is an historic fishing port in west Cornwall and offers a sheltered harbour for ships in the open waters of the Western Approaches. On 24 December 1838 the schooner Rival was trying to enter the harbour in a gale but came to grief on one of its piers; despite lacking proper rescue boats and equipment five people were saved after much courage and effort by the people ashore. A meeting was held and it was decided that a proper lifeboat should be built for the town. Francis Adams, a local man, had recently won a prize from the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society for designing a double-ended, self-righting lifeboat and he was commissioned to now build one. The Hope entered service in 1840, assisting the Mary Ann of Poole during a storm on 7 April.[1] Hope had fallen out of use by 1860 so the following year the RNLI opened a new lifeboat station at Porthgwidden beach. It proved to be a difficult site to launch from and so in 1867 it was closed. It has since been used as a store.[2]

The replacement boat house was situated in Fore Street. This was used until 1911 when a new house was built on The Quay.[2] Nearby Hayle Lifeboat Station closed in 1920. The St Ives boat now covered a larger area, but this was made easier in 1933 with the arrival of a first motor lifeboat.[3] In 1964 an ILB was stationed at St Ives which was kept in a building in the Sloop Car Park on West Hill. These two boat houses were closed in 1993 when a new purpose-built house was opened at the landward end of West Pier.[2]


On 31 January 1938 the motor lifeboat Caroline Parsons went out in aid of the SS Alba. 23 people were rescued but as the lifeboat turned to head home it was capsized by a large wave that came from the side. It righted but ran aground on rocks. The lifeboat Coxswain Thomas Cocking and his eight crewmen got ashore safely but five of the rescued men were lost. Cocking was awarded a silver medal by the RNLI and the rest of the crew received bronze medals, but a year later six of them drowned in another lifeboat wreck.[4]

In the early hours of 23 January 1939 there was a Force 10 storm blowing with gusts of wind at 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). A large steamship was reported to be in trouble off Cape Cornwall but the Sennen Cove lifeboat could not be launched due to the low state of the tide. At 3 o'clock the John and Sara Eliza Stych was launched into the dark.[5] Along with Cocking were seven more men: John Cocking (his son), Matthew Barber, William Barber and John Thomas who had all been in the Caroline Parsons wreck, along with Edgar Bassett, Richard Stevens, and William Freeman.[4] The boat rounded The Island where it met the full force of the storm as it headed westwards. Off Clodgy Point it capsized but did what it was designed to do and righted itself. Five of the crew were in the sea; only Freeman made it back into the boat. The engine was restarted but the propeller was fouled and they drifted back towards The Island where they dropped anchor but the rope parted and it capsized and righted a second time; only three survived this time. The boat now drifted north-eastwards across St Ives Bay towards Godrevy Point where it capsized for a third time. When it righted only Freeman was left. He scrambled ashore when the boat was smashed on the rocks.[5] All eight crew members were awarded bronze medals.[6] Since then two more Tommy Cockings, the drowned coxswain's son and grandson, have served as coxswain on the St Ives Lifeboat.[7]


The lifeboat house is situated at the landward end of the West Pier facing a slipway into the harbour. Both boats are kept inside on carriages and launched with the aid of tractors. The building is built in local granite to blend with its surroundings. A large central portion houses the AWB. It is flanked by two wings, that on the harbour side for the IRB, the one on the town side is used as a fund-raising gift shop.

Area of operation

The Mersey-class lifeboat at St Ives has an operating range of 145 nautical miles (269 km) and a top speed of 17 knots (31 km/h).[8] Adjacent all weather lifeboats are at Padstow Lifeboat Station to the east, and Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station to the west. There is also an inshore boat to the east at St Agnes.[9]


'ON' is the RNLI's sequential Official Number; 'Op. No.' is the operational number painted onto the boat.

Pulling and sailing lifeboats

This list is incomplete
ON Name Built At St Ives Class Comments
Hope 1840 1840–1860 Adams Independent committee[1]
? 1861–?
Covent Garden 1870–1878 10 oared [5]
435 James Stevens No. 10 1899 1899–1933 Self-righter In use as a trip boat at St Ives.[10]

Motor lifeboats

ON Op. No. Name Built At St Ives Class Comments
763 Caroline Parsons 1933 1933–1938 35ft 6in Self-righting motor-class Wrecked.[11]
743 John and Sara Eliza Stych 1931 1938–1939 35ft 6in Self-righting motor-class Originally at Padstow; wrecked.[12]
831 Caroline Oates Aver and William Maine 1939 1940–1948 Liverpool-class single engine Transferred to Ferryside and worked until 1960.[13]
861 Edgar George Orlando and Eva Child 1948 1948–1968 Liverpool-class twin engine Reported working as fishing boat Eileena-Ann (LT317) at Kings Lynn in 2006.[14]
992 37-21 Frank Penfold Marshall 1968 1968–1989 Oakley-class [15]
984 37-17 Mary Joicey 1966 1989-1989 Oakley Undergoing restoration for display at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, its first station.[15]
973 37-06 Fairlight 1963 1989–1990 Oakley Originally at Hastings, reported working as a pleasure boat at Blakeney[15]
1167 12-009 The Princess Royal (Civil Service No. 41) 1990 1990- Mersey-class

See also


  1. ^ a b Leach, Nicholas (2006) [2000]. Cornwall's Lifeboat Heritage. Chacewater: Twelveheads Press. pp. 6–8.  
  2. ^ a b c Leach, Nicholas (2006). p. 45. 
  3. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. p. 60. 
  4. ^ a b Leach, Nicholas (2009). pp. 31–32. 
  5. ^ a b c Bray, Lena; Bray, Donald (1992) [1981]. St Ives Heritage (2nd ed.). Devoran: Landfall Publications. pp. 24–27.  
  6. ^ "St Ives History". RNLI. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  7. ^ Kipling, Ray; Kipling, Susannah (2006). Never Turn Back. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 179–184.  
  8. ^ Wake-Walker, Edward (2008). The Lifeboats Story. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. p. 112.  
  9. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). p. 68. 
  10. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). pp. 2–3. 
  11. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). pp. 16–17. 
  12. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). pp. 14–15. 
  13. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). pp. 18–19. 
  14. ^ Denton, Tony (2009). pp. 20–21. 
  15. ^ a b c Denton, Tony (2009). pp. 24–25. 

External links

  • RNLI station information
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.