Mevagissey harbour  Visiting Cornwall Logo - background is part of Bodmin Moor as seen from Jamaica Inn at Altarnun. The road in the picture is the main A30 through Cornwall. Eden Project near St Austell 


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Coronavirus - Covid-19
Although the lifeboat service continues to operate during the pandemic, the lifeboat stations and shops are not open to the public. Please respect the need to keep the lifeboat crews protected and keep well clear of them. Thank you.
  • The history of the Cornish Lifeboats dates back to before the founding of the RNLI in 1824.
    (It was called the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck until it became the RNLI in 1854.)
  • The first lifeboat in Cornwall was stationed at Penzance in 1803.
  • Over the years there have been lifeboat stations in 28 different locations around the coast of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly.
  • Cornwall now has more Lifeboat Stations and more Lifeboats around its coasts than any other county in the UK.
  • Today there are 14 lifeboat stations around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, all run by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, with a total of 21 lifeboats.
  • These range from the latest Shannon Class All Weather Lifeboat down to the D-Class, smallest of the Inshore Lifeboats. Amongst the Cornish Lifeboat Fleet nearly every current class of Lifeboat is represented.
  • Also based in Cornwall, at Saltash, is the RNLI's South West Flood Rescue Team.
  • The biggest single rescue in RNLI history was in 1907, when the lifeboats from Cadgwith, Coverack, the Lizard and Porthleven rescued 456 people from the liner Suevic
  • RNLI Lifeguards operate on over 30 Cornish beaches during the summer season.
  • In the twelve months from April 2015 to March 2016 there were over 460 lifeboat launches in Cornwall - more than eight every week!
  • The busiest lifeboat station in Cornwall is Falmouth, averaging over 6 launches per month.
As an independent charity the RNLI receives no funding from the UK government. They depend entirely on gifts from the public. You can make a difference by giving a donation of at least 2 or becoming an RNLI member today.

The lifeboat stations are categorised as Explore, Observe or Discover:
Explore stations offer the best visitor experience. With free access, you can go inside and look around the station, see the lifeboat and, in most cases, pre-book a tour. They are normally open all year and have an RNLI gift shop. The three Cornish Explore lifeboat stations are marked below.
Observe stations also welcome visitors but many are in inaccessible places and best suited to maritime rescue rather than visits. However, they are situated in stunning locations so why not enjoy the local area, using the station as a starting point? The three Cornish Explore lifeboat stations are marked below.
The crews from Discover stations are equally welcoming to visitors but many of these stations were built before visitors were considered. These stations normally open their boathouse doors during the summer months. The eight Cornish Explore lifeboat stations are marked below.
Current Cornish Lifeboat Stations in alphabetical order
Click on the station location to open it's dedicated page. Some now include video links.

Open map of Cornwall showing locations of the lifeboat stations

Bude (Discover)
The Lizard (& Cadgwith) (Observe)
Padstow (Explore)
Rock (Discover)
St Marys (Isles of Scilly) (Observe)
Falmouth (Explore)
Looe (Explore)
Penlee (Observe)
St Agnes (Discover)
Sennen Cove (Discover)

Fowey (Discover)
Newquay (Discover)
Port Isaac (Discover)
St Ives (Discover)
Details of the Lifeboat classes currently in use around the Cornish Coast

Listing of all Cornish Lifeboats over the years.

Download and print the RNLI Lifeboat Spotter's Guide.
Take it with you next time you visit the Cornish coast and see if you can spot all the different types of RNLI boats.
Click here to visit RNLI Shorething. This is the RNLI website for young people and is crammed full of activities and games.

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A chance to read more about Lifeboats. Lifeboat Stations and Lifeboat Crews on our Lifeboat Books page. Even includes a lot of children's books.

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