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Looe Lifeboat Station
Looe Lifeboat Station
The Old Lifeboat Station at Looe The Old Lifeboat Station at Looe

The first lifeboat station at Looe was built next to the coastguard building on the seafront in 1866. The first lifeboat, the The Oxfordshire, was delivered on 28th December 1866. This was a double ended 32ft 6 in long boat with airtight air boxes fore and aft, a heavy keel and bouyant gunwales that made her self righting. In 1881 subscribers of the boys weekly paper, The Boys Own had raised 1,200 to purchase two new lifeboats. One went to Poole and the other came to Looe. The Looe lifeboat was named The Boys Own No.1 and was 2 foot longer and six inches wider than The Oxfordshire.
In May 1902 a new boat arrived, funded by a legacy from the late William Ryder of Brixton, London. It was similar in design to the previous two lifeboats and was built at a cost of 750 plus 85 delivery. This boat was named Ryder by Lady Trelawny.

The Looe lifeboat station was closed in July 1930.
The Ryder lifeboat was sold and converted to a twin-engined cabin cruiser and renamed Halmay 3.
By 1958 she was used as a houseboat in Bristol Docks before sold again in 1962. She was given a fibre glass coating and moved to moorings on the Fleet side of Chesil Beach before being sold again in 1987. Shortly afterwards, she had sunk and was eventually raised and left derelict inside Chesil Beach. In September 1987 she was about to be burned by a party of Royal Engineers helping with a beach clean up when she was spotted by the Secretary of the Weymouth RNLI, Barney Morris, who had her identified her as the old Looe lifeboat Ryder.

The restored Ryder lifeboat in 2007
The restored Ryder lifeboat in 2007

Agreement was reached for the boat to be gifted to the Polperro Heritage Museum and on 5th April 1995 she was transported to the yard of C Toms & Son at Polruan for restoration. It is the only surviving Standard Self-Righting Lifeboat to be displayed afloat, and one of only three to have been restored to its original condition. Now over 100 years old, the Ryder can be seen at her mooring in Polperro harbour outside the Heritage Museum in the Warren.

In 1991 the RNLI re-started the Looe Lifeboat operation for a trial period. In 1992 a D Class lifeboat from the reserve fleet was in operation only during daylight hours and only in the summer. The lifeboat was located in a temporary shelter on East Looe seafront.

In 1994 a new boat the Spirit of The Royal Ordnance Corps was officially dedicated. The finance for the boat had been raised by members of the Royal Logistics Corp who had run from their base in Germany, swum to England and cycled around the coast of England. A new location for the boathouse was donated on Looe Quay.

In 2002 with the RNLI realised that a larger facility to house a faster in-shore boat was needed. East Looe Town Trust agreed to sell them a site for a new 2 boat station and a souvenir shop. A D class lifeboat, (D-574) Regina Mary, was placed on service on 5 March. The new Albatross station was operational in October 2003 with a new Atlantic Class 75 boat (B-793) named Alan & Margaret donated by Miss Elizabeth Beaton in memory of her parents. A new semi-submersible tractor came into service at the same time. The boathouse and slipway was completed at a cost of 763,297.

A new D Class lifeboat, the Ollie Naismith replaced the Regina Mary near the end of 2010.

Station Opening Times: 10:00am to 5:00pm daily.
Shop Opening Times: Easter to late December 11:00am to 4:00pm daily
Shop Tel: 01503 265155

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