Visit a Lifeboat Station
We are all aware of the phenomenal job the RNLI do along our vast coastline in keeping us safe and protecting our shore. Many of us rely on their skills to keep our families safe at the seaside. With over 220 lifeboat stations around the UK coast, they are never far away.
Cornwall has more Lifeboat Stations and Lifeboats around its coast than any other county in the UK. There are 14 lifeboat stations around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, with a total of 21 lifeboats. All are run by the RNLI.
Falmouth is the busiest lifeboat station in Cornwall, it averages around 6 launches a month.
Why not pop along to one of the many lifeboat stations found throughout the county. A number of them are designated as “Explore Stations”, this means that the station is open for visitors most of the year. Simply pop into the shop and enquire about their tours. Enjoy a free guided tour of the lifeboats and the station. Hopefully, they won’t get called out whilst you are there. A lifeboat is on active duty 24/7.
See up close the vessels that work tirelessly whatever the weather to help those in need. It is a fascinating visit for all ages; you will get to try on jackets and helmets, board a rescue boat, learn some interesting information about the boat, the differing roles of the crew, the rescue procedures and hear stories about past rescues. Children will be enthralled, and grown-ups will get a sense of the skill required and excitement there is on a rescue.
Did you know only the coastguard can ask for a lifeboat to be launched.
Also, they never switch the lifeboat off. Because emergencies can happen in an instant the boat needs to be ready to launch at a moment’s notice. The boats are constantly connected to the land by an electrical wire which keeps everything running.
The Explore Stations are open for most of the year, and visitors are welcome to take tours around the station and boats. Stations are all run by volunteers who have a connection to RNLI and lifeboats. You will find Explore Stations in Falmouth, Looe and Padstow.
Discover Stations also open their doors to visitors during the summer months. These Discover Stations are located in Bude, Rock, St Agnes, Sennen Cove, Fowey, Newquay, Port Isaac and St Ives. Although the tours are free, the service they provide is entirely self-funded. The RNLI is a volunteer organisation, so all donations are greatly received. Or take time to visit a local RNLI shop and make a purchase. They stock a lovely selection of gift items, and it is an extremely good cause you are supporting.
A visit could well be the highlight of your trip, it is a brilliant experience. It undoubtedly provides an insight into the often-perilous job they do.
Also look out for Lifeboat Days, where crew members provide demonstrations and are often accompanied by a SAR helicopter from RNAS Culdrose. It is an opportunity to witness the remarkable work they perform, with dramatic rescue demonstrations and much more.
They also operate a number of fun events to fund raise throughout the year, so keep a n eye out for these.
Owing to the current COVID situation, many of the stations are offering a virtual visit to adhere to current restrictions.