Stoneways Marine at Poole Lifeboat Festival 2024

An RNLI Arun Class Lifeboat at Poole Lifeboat Festival

2024 sees the RNLI celebrating its 200th anniversary and events are taking place around the UK so everyone can get involved.  Keith and Jane headed out onto the water on Sunday 19th May to watch the spectacular lifeboat flotilla in Poole Harbour, the finale to a weekend long Poole Lifeboat Festival.

The grand flotilla included current and historical RNLI lifeboats, joined by other rescue craft from around the world to create a fleet of over 40 vessels and a parade over a mile long.  A true spectacle!

RNLI Tamar Class Lifeboat at Poole Lifeboat Festival

The boats had all been on display at Poole Quay Yacht Haven over the two-day event which also included a chance for visitors to tour the RNLI college and take part in plenty of activities including on-water displays, capsize demonstrations and talks.  However, it was the sheer number of lifeboats available to view and explore that stole the show.

The oldest boat in the flotilla overall was a Swedish rowing lifeboat dating from 1868, whilst the oldest RNLI boat taking part was the 1909 rowing lifeboat, the William Riley.   Serving during the first world war, it is credited with saving 35 lives in 1914 from the hospital ship, SS Rohilla which ran aground on Saltwick Nab in a gale with the loss of 83 lives.  She is said to have spent 50 hours afloat during the rescue efforts and has since been carefully restored.

The full fleet of modern all-weather RNLI lifeboats including the Shannon, Severn, Trent, Tamar and Mersey classes were involved alongside the inshore lifeboat fleet of B, D and E class lifeboats.  Other rescue vessels travelled from France, the Netherlands and Germany to be involved.

“When you spend as much time on the water as the Stoneway’s team does, the parade was a humbling reminder of how lucky we have been and currently are to have the support of the RNLI if something were to go wrong.  We all know the sea can be an unforgiving environment and to watch the parade and think about the number of volunteers who have rushed to rescue sailors in all manner of weather conditions for 200 years makes us truly thankful for them and everyone who donates to make it all possible.”

The RNLI operate from 238 lifeboat stations using 448 lifeboats and hovercraft, operated by over 5,700 volunteer lifeboat crew members.  They provide a 24-hour rescue service in the UK and Ireland and have saved over 144,000 lives since 1824.  In recent years, they have hugely expanded their beach lifeguard service, now patrolling over 240 beaches around the country.  Education and advice also forms a vital part of the work the organisation carries out with community safety teams travelling far and wide to highlight the danger and share safety knowledge with anyone heading out to sea or spending time by the coast.

Happy 200th Anniversary to the RNLI from the whole Stoneway’s Marine team.

Historic RNLI LifeboatNetherlands Search and Rescue VesselPoole Lifeboat Flotilla 2024RNLI Tamar Class Lifeboat at Poole Lifeboat FestivalRNLI HovercraftHistoric RNLI Lifeboat



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