Scarborough RNLI

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Scarborough's old lifeboats

Posted Monday 04 January 2021 10:22 am

The ECJR as it is today, below the Amelia and J Graves of Sheffield
Scarborough'sEvocative photos of two of Scarborough's old lifeboats - as they are now - have surfaced.

The ill-fated ECJR, on which three crew died in 1954, lies on the shore of a Scottish loch.

And the Amelia, which served the town from 1978-91, is languishing in an old marina in South Ferriby, near Hull.

The ECJR photos were posted on Facebook by Graham Drydale to mark the 66th anniversary of one of the worst disasters to befall Scarborough RNLI.

Coxswain Jack Sheader and crew members Francis Bayes and John Cammish died when the boat capsized in the harbour mouth on a stormy day in December 1954.

"I was very surprised to discover the fate of the lifeboat," Graham said. "ECJR is lying abandoned on the shores of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye. Bit of a sad end for a brave boat.

"ECJR was Scarborough's first self-righting lifeboat and was one of only five in her class to be fitted with twin engines. She was built by Groves & Guttridge in Cowes in 1950 and entered service in 1951."

The ECJR was only slightly damaged during the 1954 storm and was back on service within 48 hours. The wooden vessel carried on saving lives at Scarborough until 1956, when it was succeeded by the Annie Ronald & Isabella Forrest.

Graham's post has stirred up conflicting opinions on what should happen to the remains of the ECJR. Some think it would be a fitting end for the old lifeboat to be brought back to Scarborough, restored and put on display as a memorial. However, others, especially relatives and friends of the crew who died, feel the ECJR should stay where it is or even be burnt.

Asked if the ECJR should be brought back, Jack Sheader's granddaughter Avril Watson said: "Definitely not. I said it years ago when it was brought back. It's an insult to the families involved for it to be a pleasure boat and sail over the very spot where it happened."

Among the comments below Graham's post was one from Ryan Sheader: "I don't feel it would be wanted by us in Scarborough. My stepdad's grandfather was one of those lost in the disaster. There was an attempt to keep it here in times gone by as a pleasure craft. The general feeling was, it was the worst disaster of the [local] RNLI and nobody wanted it here as any sort of reminder, they wanted rid, and it went."

The tragedy is commemorated by an annual memorial service at St Mary's Church and a plaque in the lifeboathouse.

The Oakley-class Amelia was sold by the RNLI in 1992 and stood in a Grimsby boatyard for a while, according to current owner Richard Sheard.

It was then sold to the Shipwreck Treasure Museum in the old clay-port of Charlestown in Cornwall, where it was on display until about 2017. It slowly deteriorated and was no longer required when the museum was bought by Tim Smit of the Eden Project. It went into storage on a Cornish campsite then sat in a farmyard until it was offered free to a good home. Richard, who lives near Hull, took the boat to South Ferriby in March 2019.

Richard is a lifeboat enthusiast who has another Oakley, one of Rhyl's old lifeboats, at Bangor in Wales. He wants to restore the Amelia to its former glory. "It will take a few years", he says.

The Amelia was replaced by the Mersey-class Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs, which left Scarborough in 2016 and is now in Valparaiso, Chile, still operating as a lifeboat.

A fourth former Scarborough lifeboat, the JG Graves of Sheffield (1958-78) is now at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham. "It's still owned by RNLI and is in immaculate condition, sat on a carriage in the museum", says Richard.

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Images of Amelia and ECJR supplied by Graham Drydale

Christmas safety message

Posted Saturday 19 December 2020 08:06 am

ChristmasThe coast and sea can be incredibly dangerous places, from rough winter seas to changing tides and unstable and eroding clifftop edges.
A joint campaign by the RNLI and coastguard aims to remind everyone of this plain fact with their winter coastal safety campaign.
"So our gift to you this Christmas is to remind you to stay well back from stormy, wintry seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you and get home safely", they said.
"If the worst happens at the coast, we'll always be there - ready and waiting to respond. Just dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. But we really need you to do your bit, so please take note of our safety advice and follow government guidance. Add a 'coastal safety check list' to your Christmas list and you'll be primed for action.
"Before you set-off, make sure you're wearing appropriate footwear and carrying a fully-charged mobile phone so you can contact family, friends or dial 999 and ask for the coastguard, in a coastal emergency. Always let people know when you'll be back home too and don't be tempted to take a risky photo by a cliff edge or large waves for social media: it could be the last moment you ever capture.
"Get familiar with the area you're visiting by reading local safety information, warnings and advice, and check tide timings online before you go so you don't get caught out.
"Open spaces are ideal for dog walking but please keep your furry friends on a lead and if your pet does get into danger, do not attempt to rescue your animal or enter the water after your pet. Ring 999".

Final 2020 training session

Posted Saturday 19 December 2020 08:04 am

Training in north bay
FinalTuesday night saw the final training exercise for the volunteer crew of the RNLI all-weather lifeboat here in Scarborough for 2020.
Full of festivity, the crew carried out anchoring, man overboard, and search drills in North Bay.
We look forward to getting back to training in 2021, but in the meantime, have a safe and wonderful Christmas! We'll still be on call 24/7 ready to help those in danger at sea.
If you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, fight your instincts and float until the effects of cold water shock pass.

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Christmas fundraising appeal

Posted Monday 07 December 2020 11:41 am

ChristmasThe RNLI is launching its Christmas appeal after losing millions in income when fundraising activities had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

The lifesaving charity has had to spend £1.2m this year to ensure its volunteer lifeboat crews and beach lifeguards had the vital PPE, such as face masks and gloves, to keep them safe. This was money the charity hadn't planned to spend, at a time when RNLI shops were forced to close and fundraising events were called off.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, Scarborough RNLI had to cancel its annual flag and open days and other fundraising events.

Scarborough Ladies Lifeboat Guild had to cancel five lunches at the Red Lea Hotel and a coffee morning with the coxswain at Park Manor Hotel. In addition, the guild's volunteers were due to take part in Scalby Fair, Rotary Fair, a summer fair at the boathouse, an afternoon tea at the Palm Court Hotel, a Xmas fair at Park Manor and a collection at Tesco.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the global pandemic forced the temporary closure of Scarborough RNLI's shop, although it has now reopened, from 11am-3pm Saturdays and 1-3pm Mondays and Tuesdays. Items can also be bought online via:

Andy Volans, lifeboat operations manager, said: "We were devastated to have to cancel our fundraising events, especially as it's such a good opportunity to meet our local supporters.

"We've had a very challenging summer, rescuing those in difficulty in the midst of a pandemic", Andy said. "And with foreign holidays being cancelled we've received more visitors to our beaches.

"Throughout the pandemic, the crew at Scarborough have been ready to answer the pager and rescue those in difficulty. We have responded to 31 shouts since lockdown".

Additional PPE and adapting to coronavirus restrictions has been challenging for Scarborough's volunteer crew members and lifeguards. For 2020, the RNLI purchased 6.7m units of coronavirus PPE including almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4m gloves and nearly 5,000 litres of hand sanitiser.

Over the summer, there was a 64% increase in the number of recreational water users aided by RNLI lifeboats.

As a charity, the RNLI relies on the support of the public to continue saving lives. That support is needed now more than ever. Help us brave a wave we never expected. To make a donation to the RNLI's Christmas appeal, visit:

All go this weekend.

Posted Wednesday 02 December 2020 08:53 am

The photo was taken at last year’s ECJR service.
AllIt's all go for Scarborough RNLI this weekend.

The lifeboat station is hosting a seasonal online party, reopening its shop and taking part in a stripped-back, pandemic-friendly version of the annual ECJR memorial service.

The station is to host the first virtual Jingle Mingle with lifeboat crew on Sunday, at 11am.

After what has been a challenging year for us all, the event is a great opportunity to get together across all areas and share some festive cheer.

Taking place over Zoom, expect an hour of fun including stories of 'where were you when the pager went off at Christmas time?', a virtual tour of the boathouse, guest appearances from crew at other stations, something fun for the little ones and a Christmas thank-you from the crew.

The Jingle Mingle is open to the public, free to join and due to last an hour or so.

To sign up, search for RNLI Jingle Mingle on​ Eventbrite.

Like most of the town's retail outlets, the lifeboat shop has had a difficult year, being closed from 23 March to 26 September.

For the foreseeable future, it will be open from 11am-3pm Saturdays and 1-3pm Mondays and Tuesdays.

It would be open more hours and days but for a shortage of volunteers.

The shop sells Christmas cards, calendars, diaries, souvenirs, etc.

The ECJR memorial service commemorates lifeboat crew who have perished at sea.

It will be attended by people from the Bottom End, who will sit apart, borough mayor Hazel Lynskey and fewer crew than usual. They will include station standard bearer Kev Roberts.

The organisers are asking families and friends to take part at home by watching a live broadcast via the church's Facebook page.

The service, to be led by Rev Richard Walker, will feature an address by Rev Pam Jennings and a bible reading by coxswain Lee Marton. Shore-crew volunteer Dave Grieves will read the roll of honour, a list of names of all who have died in service.

Hymns will be listened to but not sung and, for the first time in many years, Filey Fishermen's Choir will not take part.

The service, at St Mary's Church at 6.30pm Sunday, marks the 66th anniversary of one of the worst disasters in the lifeboat's history.

Three crew died when the ECJR lifeboat overturned in the south bay in a terrible storm on 8 December 1954.

In atrocious conditions, with enormous waves and a howling gale, the lifeboat had been at sea all afternoon, escorting fishing boats back to the harbour.

With its rescue work complete, the ECJR was engulfed by waves and capsized close to the harbour mouth.

The deaths of coxswain Jack Sheader, second coxswain John Cammish and signalman Francis Bayes devastated their families and numbed the whole town with shock and grief.

Every year since then, the anniversary of the tragedy has been commemorated by a church service remembering those three in particular but also other lifeboat crew who have died at sea. They include Frank Dalton, who died in a horrific accident in tumultuous seas on 9 December 1951.

The photo was taken at last year's ECJR service.

Can you volunteer?

Posted Monday 16 November 2020 11:06 am

CanScarborough RNLI is looking for extra people to join its volunteer lifeboat team.

Potential new recruits don't need to have sea-going experience.

Team players with the ability to learn new skills would be ideally suited.

Potential recruits must live or work within five miles of the station and be aged 17-65.

Andy Volans, lifeboat operations manager, explained: 'Only 10% of our new recruits come with professional maritime experience. Our current lifeboat crew is testament to this as we have a paramedic, a school caretaker, electronics engineers, factory workers, an intensive-care nurse and so on.

'The RNLI provides comprehensive training to turn ordinary people into lifesavers. By volunteering, people gain fantastic experience, knowledge and skills with the RNLI in Scarborough.

'Around 95% of RNLI people are volunteers and find the experience extremely rewarding. It's a great way to make new friends while helping to save lives at sea.'

'Although we're recruiting for the roles, owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the lifeboat station remains closed to members of the public / visits etc.'

To apply, ring 07123 360520.

Scarborough RNLI’s Shannon lifeboat. Photo credit: RNLI.

John Huntley - new ALB navigator

Posted Thursday 05 November 2020 10:33 am

JohnHuge congratulations to John Huntley who passed out as a volunteer navigator on the all-weather lifeboat during training at sea last night.
John will be handling all aspects of navigation whilst aboard the Shannon Class lifeboat including plotting routes, planning and running search patterns, and radar.
Navigators are trained to use the electronic nav systems aboard as well as traditional paper charts and navigations tools.
We wish John the very best of luck in his new role and look forward to spending many years at sea under his watchful gaze!

Remembrance Sunday

Posted Thursday 05 November 2020 10:30 am

It will come as no surprise to most RNLI supporters to learn that Scarborough lifeboat's remembrance service on Sunday has been cancelled.
Scarborough RNLI will instead have a presence at the town's main service on Oliver's Mount, starting at 10.50am.
It will be a slimmed-down version with everyone standing apart, no singing, no free buses and wreathes laid one at a time, after the two-minute silence, says organiser Steve Jewell.
The standard bearers will include Scarborough lifeboat crew member Kev Roberts, who will be joined by several others from the local RNLI team.
Anyone who watches a ceremony outdoors must follow safety measures, including observing the rule of six and social distancing rules. They should expect to be asked by event organisers for contact details to enable track and trace, if necessary.
* There is a glimmer of hope that Scarborough RNLI's annual ECJR memorial service at St Mary's Church on 6 December will still go ahead. If the lockdown has finished on time, a pared-back commemoration, remembering crew members who died in service, could be streamed live.

Queen's Birthday Honour for Scarborough RNLI water safety pioneer

Posted Friday 09 October 2020 10:32 pm

Queen's Scarborough RNLI fundraiser and founder of the Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund, Donna Loveland, has received a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours, in recognition of her outstanding work in fundraising and water safety.

In February 2015 Andrew McGeown, aged 32, lost his life after entering the North Sea in Scarborough's South Bay whilst attempting to save his dog, Arnold. Donna set up the Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund in his name, with the intention of funding the Swim Safe programme in her local area.

Swim Safe was created by Swim England and the RNLI in 2013 to help children aged 7 to14 stay safe while enjoying swimming outdoors through practical sessions offering vital water safety skills, free of charge. From with a single scheme in Cornwall, Swim Safe has grown into a national programme, spanning 30 sites across the UK and helping thousands of children learn how to stay safe in the water.

Swim Safe was established in Scarborough in 2015. Since then, more than 4,500 children have taken part in sessions at Scarborough and Bridlington. Donna's tireless dedication has seen her raise over £45,000 for the Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund and Swim Safe whilst also promoting water safety and the dangers of the coast through local awareness campaigns, marketing and school visits.

The birthday honours, which are usually announced in June, have been delayed this year due to the pandemic.

Upon hearing the news of the honour, Donna said: 'It was a real shock, but also a nice surprise that I will be receiving the British Empire Medal. Fundraising in my brother's memory has given my family a positive focus after Andrew's death.

'The Swim Safe programme has been very successful. It's a pleasure to be able to deliver such a valuable programme, and hopefully we will save many lives through the educational sessions. Andrew will always be remembered and loved thanks to the great legacy created with RLNI and Swim England and everyone who has supported us.'

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said: 'It is such a delight to see Donna recognised for her hard work and commitment, particularly as we near the end of such a challenging year. Her story truly represents the RNLI values through her dedication, support and courage, helping to keep thousands of children safe along the Yorkshire coast. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, I send Donna my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude.'

Ashley Jones, Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Manager at Swim England, said: 'Donna's enthusiasm and selflessness are an inspiration to many. She has thoroughly earned this accolade for her commitment to saving lives on the Yorkshire coast, from raising tens of thousands of pounds for the Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund to delivering the Swim Safe programme in Scarborough and Bridlington. Donna continually goes above and beyond to enable thousands of youngsters to benefit from free Swim Safe sessions.'

'I am proud and privileged to work alongside such a committed volunteer and everyone at Swim England is thrilled she has been recognised with this deserving honour.'

Training at sea returns

Posted Thursday 08 October 2020 07:22 am

TrainingUnder strict COVID guidelines, the crew of Scarborough Lifeboat are back to training at sea once again.
As part of last nights All-weather Lifeboat exercise, six white parachute flares were set off in Scarborough North Bay.
White parachute flares are used to light areas for searches and for collision avoidance. They reach a height of around 300 metres and burn for approximately 30 seconds as they descend .
The Coastguard were informed prior to the firing of the flares.
The flares that were used during the exercise were nearing the end of their expiry date.
Red flares are used for signalling distress and the coastguard should be called immediately on 999 should you ever see one fired at sea or along the coast.
If you see anyone injured or in distress on the coast, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

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images by Kay Jackson and Erik Woolcott

ILB called to rescue in harbour

Posted Saturday 03 October 2020 09:44 am

ILBAt 1:40 pm on Monday 28 September, Scarborough's inshore lifeboat launched with a volunteer crew of three tasked to assist a man in the water in the outer harbour.
It was reported that he had slipped down between two boats whilst attempting to climb from one to the other and was not wearing a lifejacket. Luckily, by the time the lifeboat arrived on scene, the man had been recovered onto one of the boats and was in the care of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
The inshore lifeboat and her crew provided safety cover as the man was escorted back up the ladder and onto the pier. Other than being quite cold, he sustained no injuries.
'It's incredibly important to wear a lifejacket when in and around the harbour.' says inshore lifeboat helm, Jason Hedges, 'Accidents can and still do happen even when you're not out in the open sea. An appropriate, regularly serviced, and well-fitted lifejacket is the difference between life and death but is useless unless it's worn.'
For more information on choosing and fitting an appropriate lifejacket, please visit
If you see anyone injured or in distress on the coast, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.
The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea.

Photo by Nathan Williams

Jet skiers rescued by volunteer ILB crew

Posted Monday 07 September 2020 06:17 pm

JetOn 5 September at 12:15 pm, Scarborough's inshore lifeboat launched with a volunteer crew of three tasked to assist a jet ski with two persons on board in North Bay.
The jet ski had suffered engine failure and had started to drift out to sea with the tide. A member of the RNLI Lifeguard team had paddled out on a rescue board to the stricken craft to offer assistance.
Once on scene, the lifeboat and her crew transported all persons back to the safety of the beach before taking the jet ski under tow which had drifted nearly two miles out to sea by the time the operation was complete.
The jetski was well prepared for sea safety carrying a VHF radio and flares and the crew of two were wearing appropriate lifejackets. The RNLI recommends all watercraft to carry this equipment to call for help and to survive at sea if and when the need arises.
'If you're out at sea, whether that's for pleasure or work, always make sure you have a way of calling for help.', recommends inshore lifeboat helm, Rob Gaunt. 'Take the time to check your equipment, the tides and weather, and the local area, and if things still go wrong - we'll be there to help'.

Image by Wayne Hart

Feline rescued when yacht snared in pot lines

Posted Saturday 29 August 2020 09:49 am

Artie at sea
FelineIt has emerged that the third crew member aboard a yacht rescued by Scarborough lifeboat this week was a cat.
Artie, seen here in his feline lifejacket, snoozed quietly through the dramatic mission to rescue the yacht. It was snared on lobster pot-lines six miles north of town early on Monday morning.
"The cat was asleep in its cage but the door was open", reported Paul Huggins, who boarded the yacht to cut one of the lines. "It was just quite happy in its bed".
Now Artie's owners - or is it the other way round? - have contacted Scarborough RNLI to express their appreciation. "We can't thank you enough for all your help at silly o'clock in the morning", said Tim and Row Heale.
"Sorry to have got you out of bed but, hey, cheers guys, we really appreciate your help and genuine attitude to helping those in need.
"We contacted the coastguard with our position when we found ourselves immobilised, as our radar showed large commercial vessels approaching us, albeit at a distance", Row recalls. "We had sailed non-stop from Inverness when we found ourselves in trouble and the crews from RNLI Scarborough came to our assistance.
"We have made an online donation to the RNLI. Our meagre contribution probably wouldn't cover your pager bill let alone the boats' fuel bill, but from our hearts, and Artie the ship's cat, we thank you".
Tim and Row are members of the Army Sailing Association and the Royal Yachting Association. They keep their boat, Hallberg Rassy 36 Talavera, at the Hornet Services Sailing Club in Gosport, where they live.
Artie is a British short-haired smokey grey. He has a passport and all his inoculations are up to date. He's well travelled and has been sailing since he was a 12-week-old young kitten.
Row says: "He's now into his second life jacket - he outgrew the first one - and he loves going ashore in the dinghy or our kayak".
Being a cat, Artie avoids water but once got his tail wet when Tim and Row forgot to put his lead on the extended setting, when leaping onto a pontoon. "He went donk mid-flight into the oggin, but he was hooked out to safety immediately", Row says.
"Don't be fooled by his grumpy look, he loves being on board".
The couple's favourite places to sail are around Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic. "But this year, due to Covid-19 and quarantine regulations, we are sailing clockwise around the UK, anchoring as much as possible and only going ashore for water, food supplies or to wait for gales to abate".

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Big yacht caught in lobster pot lines rescued by both RNLI boats

Posted Monday 24 August 2020 04:42 pm

BigBoth Scarborough RNLI lifeboats launched last night when a big yacht sailed into lobster pot-lines six miles north.

It was an overcast, dark night with no moonlight so the yacht had no chance of spotting the white canisters floating on the surface without a light or a flag.

The all-weather Shannon lifeboat crew used a grappling hook to pull close to the beleaguered vessel, which was sailing from Inverness to Lowestoft.

A crew member boarded the craft and managed to cut one of the pot-lines loose, releasing the propeller. But a second one was inaccessible, being trapped under the hull while jamming the rudder.

The lifeboat escorted the 12m yacht close to shore while summoning its smaller partner, the inshore lifeboat, whose crew were able to reach low enough to cut the propeller free.

The Shannon launched at about 10.30pm, followed by the inshore lifeboat at about 12.40am. The lifeboat crews - six on the Shannon, three on the lifeboat and four on shore - were finished by 3am. The sea was calm with a light swell.

Charity Bike Ride Raises Vital Funds for Scarborough Lifeboat

Posted Monday 24 August 2020 11:40 am

Charity The Leeds Arms in Scarborough and the Marauding Riders complete charity bike ride in aid of Scarborough Lifeboat and Motoneurons Disease.

The Marauding Riders cycled the 50 miles from Acaster Malbis to Scarborough lifeboat station raising £725.50 in aid of the RNLI.

The crew of Scarborough Lifeboat Station would like to personally thank all involved for their incredible efforts and for raising vital funds allowing us to continue to save lives at sea.

'These funds will go towards our continued effort in keeping people safe from the dangers of the sea. Donations help pay for lifesaving equipment, training, the day to day running of the station and much more. It's charitable donations like this that keep the RNLI doing what it does best - saving lives at sea', said Coxswain, Lee Marton.

Our volunteer lifeboat crews provide a 24-hour rescue service in the UK and Ireland, and our seasonal lifeguards look after people on busy beaches.

RNLI crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives since 1824 but we're more than a rescue service. We influence, supervise, and educate people too. Our Community Safety teams explain the risks and share safety knowledge with anyone going out to sea or to the coast. And our international teams work with like-minded organisations to help tackle drowning in communities at risk all around the world.