Come and See the Lowestoft Lifeboat!

The Lowestoft Lifeboat allows you to get a real feel of this town’s historic seafaring past.


Lowestoft is one of the oldest lifeboat stations in the British Isles.

It was founded in 1801, twenty-three years before the Lifeboat Service itself was established. Its first lifeboat was built by Henry Greathead who, twelve years before, had built for South Shields the famous Original, the first lifeboat of all.

Then six years later Lowestoft took her place in the history of the lifeboats by having the first sailing lifeboat. Greathead’s had all been rowing boats. This first sailing lifeboat was built for the Suffolk Humane Society by Sparham of Lowestoft under the superintendence of Lional Lukin, a London coachbuilder.

That boat (her name was Frances Anne ) was the first of the great fleet of sailing lifeboats which served on our coasts for over 140 years. It was not until December 1948 that the last of them was replaced by a motor lifeboat.

The Lowestoft lifeboat Michael Stephens was among the nineteen of the Institution’s boats, which went over to Dunkirk in 1940 to help in bringing off the British Expeditionary Force. She was not manned by her own crew but by officers and men of the Navy.

The Michael Stephens worked in Dunkirk Harbour itself, carrying men through the crowded darkness to the ships outside. She was twice rammed by motor torpedo boats but she went on with her work and returned to Dover under her own power.

Bronze Second-Service clasp awarded to Coxswain John Catchpole and the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on vellum accorded to Second Coxswain/Mechanic Shane Coleman when three people were rescued from the yacht Red House Lugger and the vessel saved after being in difficulties 30 miles SE of Lowestoft in rough seas, an estimated twenty foot swell and storm force winds on the 29 August 1997.

Thirty-nine RNLI medals have been awarded, two Gold, 21 Silver and 16 Bronze, the last being voted in 1997.

In 2001 Lowestoft lifeboat station celebrated its bicentenary, and has been awarded a special Vellum to commemorate the event.

The Lowestoft lifeboat station is situated on the Lowestoft south pier the station boasts a crew room, workshop, changing room for the crew to get in to there gear before boarding the lifeboat. The station also has a lovely Souvenir shop.

How to find the Lowestoft Lifeboat Station:

Lowestoft Lifeboat Station Address:

Lowestoft Lifeboat,
South Pier,
NR33 0AE

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