On 15 December 1859 a “a preliminary meeting was held at the Brighstone Rectory… to discuss the best mode of proceeding to procure one or more lifeboats…”.

The generosity of Islanders and the support of the RNLI ensured that by the following year, lifeboats were provided at Brook and Brighstone Grange on the perilous south coast.

That early meeting saw the formation of the Lifeboat Board, which continues today to support and to encourage communication and co-operation between the Isle of Wight’s three RNLI Lifeboat Stations (at Bembridge, Yarmouth and Cowes), fundraising Guilds and Branches, the Inshore lifeboat Centre, East Cowes and the Lifeboat Heritage Group.

The Board is itself constituted as a registered branch of the RNLI (No 928764).

The Isle of Wight has a rich lifeboat heritage. More than 1,400 lifeboats have been built in Cowes and East Cowes, and all RNLI inshore lifeboats are today built, maintained and repaired at the Inshore Lifeboat Centre.

Historic lifeboats are restored and displayed at the Classic Boat Museum, Cowes and near the Shipwreck and Diving Museum, Arreton.

Isle of Wight RNLI Education and Water Safety teams provide accredited and age-appropriate education and training in Water Safety and Drowning Prevention to primary and secondary schools, adult sea-going groups and at marinas as part of the RNLI’s ongoing mission to Save Lives At Sea.


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