Lifeboat volunteers heve been saving lives at sea in Scarborough for over 200 years. Our station was founded in 1801 and we are the third oldest operational lifeboat station.

The first lifeboat was built in 1801 funded by volintary subscriptions to plans supplied by Henry Greathead which cost 5 guineas (£5.25p). The boat cost £212 and was powered by oars.

The first rescue for this boat was on 2 November 1801 when it rescued the crew of seven from the Newcastle brig Aurora. (A brig is a type of sailing vessel defined by its rig: two masts which are both square-rigged

The first boathouse which we are unable to find an image was located at Mill Beck. This stream ran down the valley into the sea at Aquarium Top. In 1826 it moved to a site opposite where the station stands today.


The earliest record of an award being given to Scarborough lifeboat's crew was in 1824 following the rescue of seven crew from the Sunderland ship Hebe. Silver medals were awarded to James Fowler and Smith Tindall for their gallant conduct.


Following the rescue on 9 January 1828 of eight of the crew of the ship Centurion which was wrecked at Osgodby, which is about 2 miles south of Scarborough. Coxswain Thomas Clayburn was presented with a silver medal.


Tragedy Struck when the lifeboat which at that time was not self righting during a rescue attempt capsized with the loss of 10 of the crew.


Scarborough received their first self righting lifeboat


Scarborough lifeboat station was taken over by the RNLI and a new lifeboat was commmissioned she was named Amelia. On its first service on 2nd November 1861which was to the schooner Coupland. They were attempting to enter Scarborough harbour when the wind blew them accross the bay onto the rocks in front of the Scarborough Spa. The Amelia launched but the sea was conditions were so bad that the lifeboat was dashed against the Spa wall and was wrecked. Two lifeboat crew and three members of the public perished one of the members of the public who died was a Lord of the Relm. Lord Charles Beauclerc.


After 41 years service as Coxswain John Owston retired. Altogether he took part in the saving of 230 lives. He was awarded the Silver Medal for gallantry in October 1880 when in the course of 24 hours in very rough weather the lifeboat was launched five times and rescued every life in danger numbering 28 in all. In 1902 King Edward VII the Prince of Wales presented him with two silver mounted pipes.


Motor Lifeboats were introduced in 1824 and Scarborough received the second one. She was called Herbert Joy, she served until 1931 saving nine lives.


On 9 December 1951 the lifeboat had been tasked to the Dutch motor vessel where they rescued ten people. During the rescue it was necessary for crew member Frank Dalton who had transferred to the casualty vessel to transfer back to the lifeboat. Unfortuntely he fell between the casualty and the lifeboat and was crushed. He was recovered to the lifeboat but asdly did not survive. The RNLI awarded Bronze medals were awarded to coxswain John Sheader, assiartant mechanic Thomas Mainprize and posthumously bowman Frank Dalton.


On 8 December 1954 at 11.40 with a storm brewing the lifeboat was launched to help fishing boats known to be at sea return to Scarborough. they escorted eight of these boats back to port. Then at15.20 with conditions deteriorating severely they put to sea again to search for three boats. Conditions were now a severe gale with driving spray, sleet and breaking waves up to 5 meters.

After searching they were informed thaat the three boats had made it safely to Whitby Harbour. The lifeboat then commenced its return but rounding the pier she was struck by a gigantic wave followed by another which capsized the boat throwing crew members into the sea. The boat self righted immediately with three crew members still on board. They were able to pull two more out of the sea. However Coxswain John Sheader Second Coxswain John Cammish and Signaman Frank Bayes unfortunately perished.

Each year on the Sunday nearest to this disaaster a memorial service is held at St Marys Church in the evening to which all are welcome.


Scarborough Lifeboat Station received its first inshore lifeboat.

Scarborough Lifeboat was tasked to stand by the oil rig Neptune in case it had to be abandoned. They were suffering galess of up to 90 knots (around 100mph). They stood by throughout the night of 16/17 November.


Bob Swallwell and Cec Bean were formally thanked for their efforts in attempting to save the life of a child who had fallen doen the cliff at Gristhorpe which is South of Scarborough. Unfortunately when they arrived on scene the child was found to be dead.


Coxswain William Sheader in rescuing a man whose motorboat had overturned had to take the lifeboat skillfully through dangerous outcrops of rock. He was awarded the RNLI Silver Medal for Gallantry and jointly won a national award for the bravest act of life-saving carried out by a lifeboat crew member.


In storm force North Westerly wind and a rough sea acting Coxwain Thomas Rowley rescued the crew of four from the vessel Eun Mara An Tar. For this rescue Thomas Rowley was awarded a bronze medal for his courage and seamanship.


A new Mersey Class Lifeboat Fanny Victoria and Frank Stubbs arrived on Station.


In a confused breaking sea the lifeboat under the command of Coxswain / mechanic Richard Constantine repeatedly manoevered close to the sea wall in an attempt to rescue a woman who had entered the water to try and rescue her dog. Sadly the woman did not survive. He was formally thanked by the RNLI in recognition of his seamanship skill and determination.


Helmsman Paul Stonehouse was honoured for the way he kept control in conditions bordering on the operational limits of the inshore lifeboat. Four surfers were rescued in heavy breaking swell which was reflecting off the sea wall in the North Bay in a force 5/7 North Westerly near gale.