Friday, 5 December 2014

Tottenham Aquaknots present cheque for over £3500 to Swanage Boathouse Appeal

The Tottenham Aquaknots was a diving club founded around 1966 and flourished for many years, having more than 80 active members at its peak.

However in recent times membership has dwindled and it no longer became viable to continue running the club. Members took the difficult decision to wind up the club in late 2013, but they had to make a decision as to what to do with their remaining funds.

The club took the decision to donate the diving club funds to the Swanage Boathouse Appeal as a thank you to the RNLI. The members of Tottenham Aquaknots always knew the RNLI were there should they require assistance at sea and felt that donating their remainder funds to the Swanage Boathouse Appeal was a fitting tribute in particular as some members have required the services of the Swanage lifeboats in the past.
The cheque for over £3500 was handed over to Coxswain Martin Steeden and will go towards building the new boathouse, work on which commenced in November 2014.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Containers, containers and more containers!

Our contractors (BAM Nuttall) have now got all their containers in place along with the ones that we'll be using and the one for the Angling Club.
These are the sites offices, canteen and drying room.
This is the Angling Club's temporary building for the duration of the work.
These 4 are ours. The two on the lower level will be drying rooms for the crew's waterproofs, one for the ILB kit and one for the ALB kit. Next week these will have a temporary building put over them so that the boats are under cover too. The two containers on the upper level are a store and a workshop.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Another tractor, a boat, a trailer and a fuel bowser

Its been a busy week at Swanage Lifeboat Station. More new launch and recovery equipment has arrived and so has the boarding boat that we'll use to get to the ALB when its on the mooring.
Eight of our volunteers have started their training so that they can drive the new tractors. This will continue until RNLI assessors return in a few weeks to assess them as competent.
The final piece of kit is a portable fuel tank that we'll use to refuel the ALB. This could be in the boatpark or from the pier if the tide is too low.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The first bit of our new launch and recovery kit has arrived!

One of the biggest changes for our volunteers over the next few months is going to be launching the ILB and the boarding boat to get to the ALB. Today our ToolTrak arrived.
This will be used to launch the ILB from our temporary facilities down the slipway in the boatpark. The RNLI Tooltrak is a compact rubber tracked crawler based tool carrier for use in marine environments for the launch and recovery of lifeboats. It is able to wade to a depth of 0.6m and is the ideal vehicle for launching a D Class lifeboat. Our tractor drivers start their training on Tuesday of next week, we'll keep you posted on how that goes.

The first of the builder's kit has arrived on site

The project to demolish and rebuild our lifeboat station has now officially started!

The first of the builder's cabins have arrived today with more arriving next week.

The first of our equipment should also be arriving a bit later today, exciting times!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Crew and ex-crew photo shoot

In between the rain showers on Sunday 2nd November our current crew and some of our ex-crew gathered at the lifeboat station for a photo shoot and to say goodbye to the lifeboat station that has served so well over the years.

We're very grateful to Julian Sawyer for coming to take the photos, he took some really nice shots which we're now able to share with you.

This one recreates a shot that was taken around June 1992 when our Mersey first arrived at station.
Here's our current crew and the ex-crew that joined us
and the current crew and our DLAs.
Thanks again Julian, if you feature in one of the photos and you'd like a copy please get in touch.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Calling all ex-Swanage Lifeboat Crew

At around 10am on Sunday 2nd November Swanage Lifeboat Crew will be having their final crew photo taken at the current boathouse. Then at around 11am we'd really like to take a photo of all the people who have volunteered at Swanage over the years. We're also going to put on a few refreshments too. If you know someone who served with us then please pass this message on. It would be great for example if we could recreate this photo from 1992 when our Mersey came to station.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Last chance to visit our current lifeboat station

This week is the last chance that the public will have to visit our current lifeboat station. The station will close to the public for the last time on Sat 1st November 2014. This is to allow time for the building to be emptied prior to the contractors taking over the site mid-December.
Our wonderful team of volunteer boathouse attendants will have the station open all week from 12 - 4pm so why not pop in and say hi. You can also have a look at a copy of the plans for the new building.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

South West Trains present a cheque for £1,000 to Swanage RNLI

On Saturday, 11th October a South West train made the trip from London Waterloo to Swanage full of passengers eager to travel along this picturesque section of track which, thanks to a recent agreement between Network Rail, Dorset County Council and Swanage Railway, will become a regular route in the future.

South West trains decided to donate funds towards the Swanage Lifeboat Station Appeal because of the support already given to them by the Swanage Railway at their Diesel Weekend last May. They chose the arrival of one of their trains in Swanage as the opportunity to present members from Swanage RNLI with a cheque for £1,000.

Swanage Lifeboat Fundraisers Chairperson, Angela Morris, said "South West trains have been keen to support our local project in particular as the train line from Swanage to Wareham is soon to become a reality."
Cheque presented to Neil Brooks, Gavin Steeden and Angela Morris by Phil Dominey, Stakeholder Manager South Western Railway.

Photo: Chris Caruana

Friday, 10 October 2014

Work to begin on construction of the new Swanage RNLI lifeboat station

November will mark the start of one of the RNLI’s biggest construction projects when work begins on the new Swanage lifeboat station. Over an 18-month period, the existing boathouse at Peveril Point will be demolished and a new facility will then be erected in its place. This will house one of the charity’s new state of the art Shannon class all weather lifeboats and serve the station for at least the next 80 years.
Designed by Dorset based team, consulting engineers Smith Foster and architects Morgan Design Studio Ltd, the new building will stand in exactly the same place as the old station that was constructed in 1875. As well as housing the Shannon class lifeboat, it will co-house the station’s D Class inshore lifeboat and provide modern facilities for crew training, office space, a warm changing room with toilets and showers and a workshop for the mechanic.

Christopher Refoy, RNLI Estates Construction Manager, says the project will be an exciting challenge for everyone involved:
‘This project has taken some considerable time to come to fruition. Building construction in the maritime environment is always interesting, and at times extremely challenging for both the designers and our Contractors. This project has its own particular characteristics, not least of which is the immensely constrained site. This is a huge challenge for both our Contractor, BAM Nuttall, and for our volunteer crew who will maintain the lifeboat service at Swanage without interruption throughout the duration of the works.’

The new boathouse will represent a £3.5 million investment, which will be met by the many generous donations made to the charity by the public, including some that have been left in legacies specifically for building projects. Over £200,000 of which has been raised by local RNLI fundraisers through the community, money which has been raised through local events, personal challenges, and overwhelming support from other RNLI fundraising branches.

Christopher continues:
‘Before building work can begin, the site for the temporary crew accommodation and contractors compound needs to be prepared. In November, work will begin in Swanage Boat Park to install the accommodation units that the lifeboat crew will use as temporary facilities, along with the Contractors accommodation and a unit to temporarily house Swanage Angling club. It is currently planned that the lifeboat station will become operational from its temporary accommodation in December, and demolition of the current lifeboat station will start in January.’

Throughout the duration of the build, both of Swanage’s lifeboats will remain fully operational. Neil Hardy, Swanage RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, says:
‘There’s no pretending that the next 18 months are going to be easy. The demands on the Coxswain and volunteer crew are going to be enormous and I thank them in advance for their patience and goodwill. But we will come out of the project with a superb new lifeboat station that will be a delight to the RNLI team here and a vital investment for the future of the RNLI in Swanage.

We’re spending this month clearing out the current station of non-operational items and putting them into storage. Our temporary buildings arrive at the beginning of November and we’ll then spend time moving into these and transferring over our operational equipment ready for the start of the build.’

Because of the need for space for the temporary facilities, Swanage Boat Park will be closed from the end of October 2014 to Spring 2016 when the build is completed. The public slipway will remain open subject to the on-going construction work. Where possible these periods of closure will be posted in advance on a dedicated website Via the website, boat users can also opt to be kept up to date by email or by following @swanageboatpark on twitter.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Costcutter donates over £2,000 to the Swanage Lifeboat Boathouse Appeal

A special scheme run through one of Costcutter’s suppliers, Nisa, enabled a percentage of profit on certain products sold through the Swanage shop to be collected for donation to a charity of the shop owner’s choice.
The total raised by the Swanage Costcutter was £2070.41 and the Tomes family, owners of the local shop, decided to donate the funds to Swanage Lifeboat Boathouse Appeal.

The local shop in Herston, today known as Costcutter, has been owned and run by the Tomes family for more than 100 years.

Family members Harry Tomes and his son Keith Tomes went to present the cheque the Swanage Lifeboat Station where Harry’s grandson, and Keith’s son, Darren Tomes is a volunteer lifeboat crew member.
Darren said “I am proud to be part of the successful family business. My grandfather has been involved with the business for over 60 years and I hope to see the business continue through the generations. My family have always been supportive of my voluntary role on the lifeboat, allowing me to run out of the butchery when my pager sounds. It was great to be able to make a donation to the appeal from the shop and the money go towards our future lifeboat station.”

Final preparations are being made for work to commence on the building of the new lifeboat station and setting up provisions for the temporary facilities that will house lifeboat crew kit and equipment in the boat park whilst the building work is underway.

It is expected that the Swanage Lifeboat will launch down the slipway of the current lifeboat station for the last time towards the end of 2014, marking the end of an era for the boathouse which has seen the Swanage lifeboats launch hundreds of times over the station’s 137 year history.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Blackmore Vale RNLI branch donate £39k to our appeal

The committee of the Blackmore Vale Branch of the RNLI visited the lifeboat station today. They very kindly came armed with a cheque for £38,978.08 which they have asked to be put towards our appeal for £200,000 towards the cost of our new lifeboat station.

Pictured, left to right are Peter Foster - Swanage Chairman, Dori Peat - Blackmore Vale Fair Organiser and Richard Sullivan - Blackmore Vale Chairman.

We're very grateful for all their hard work and support. We look forward to welcoming them back to the new lifeboat station in 2016.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Golfers look set to tee off in aid of the RNLI

Golfers enjoying a three day golf tournament which takes place on three different golf courses along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast in September 2014 will be raising vital funds for the RNLI volunteers along the coast. 

The unique Golf Pairs Tournament is three day competition which uses the Stableford scoring system. Starting on 21 September at Came Down Golf Club and taking place on consecutive days at, Lyme Regis Golf Club and Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club, the tournament will also be played in three different formats, Betterball, Greensomes and Foursomes.

The tournament also encompasses four nights Bed and Breakfast accommodation at the Riviera Hotel in Weymouth with a presentation dinner on the final day.

Peter Foster, one of the tournament organisers and the Swanage RNLI Lifeboat Station Appeal Chairperson says;

‘It promises to be a unique event, providing golfers with a fantastic opportunity to play against the spectacular backdrop of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline.

It seems entirely appropriate to use the event to raise funds for the volunteer RNLI crew from stations at Lyme Regis, Weymouth and Swanage who help save those in trouble at sea along this very coast. The money raised will go towards ensuring that they have training and equipment to be able to continue their lifesaving work.

Timed perfectly to coincide with the start of the Ryder Cup, the entry is limited to only 72 pairs. With places being booked up quickly, we’re urging golfers to get their entries in soon.’

Entry to the tournament costs £578 per pair, for more information and details on how to enter please visit or contact Tournament Director John Campbell at

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sherborne School’s housemaster spending Lent in a Tent for RNLI Swanage

Michael McGinty, the Abbey House housemaster at Sherborne School in Dorset is making his ultimate sacrifice for Lent this year, forgoing the comfort and warmth of his bed for 40 nights. Michael will spend Lent in a Tent to raise funds towards the cost of a new lifeboat station in Swanage, needed to house the town’s next lifeboat, an all-weather 25 knot Shannon class lifeboat. 
Michael, whose sons Alexander and Harry helped him come up with the idea, will also spend his 49th birthday which falls on Maundy Thursday (17 April) under canvas, he says;

‘We were out camping last year and started discussing what people gave up for lent, things like alcohol or processed food, but I really wanted to do something different and use the challenge to raise funds for charity. First of all I thought Lent in a Tent simply had a great ring to it, but slowly the plans started coming together and here I am two weeks into the challenge and so far so good.’

The pupils of Abbey House were inspired to select the RNLI as their chosen charity after a visit from Chief Executive Paul Bossier who delivered a powerful and inspiring lecture to the Sherborne pupils. 

Michael says;

‘Paul’s talk really struck a chord with the boys some of whom it was a surprise to hear that the lifesaving service was run by a charity, and that the lifeboat crew were made up of mainly volunteers. So when it came for Abbey House to choose a charity to support on a long term project, they were very keen to support the appeal for a new boathouse at Swanage RNLI.’   

Michael will sleep in his tent, which is pitched in the grounds of Sherborne School, until Easter Sunday. When asked what was the most challenging part of the experience he said;  

‘I don’t enjoy putting on a cold damp dressing gown each morning, and being woken at 5.20am by the dawn chorus at 5.20am is tiring.’

However, when asked what was the best part Michael said; 

‘Although tiring, waking up early to the sound of birds singing each morning is wonderful. However I am rather disappointed that the pupils have been behaving, I expected some kind of trickery from them but so far I’ve only had visits from the neighbourhood cats.’ 

Michael is aiming to raise £4,000 with an amazing £3,000 raised so far. To sponsor Michael’s efforts to spend Lent in a Tent visit his Just Giving page at  

Chris Copeland, Chairman of Sherborne RNLI Branch says;

 ‘Its incredibly kind of Michael to donate his idea and the funds raised to the RNLI. It didn’t take much persuasion to convince him of the importance of raising funds for the new lifeboat station in Swanage. The station will house, launch and protect the new lifeboat and provide much improved facilities for the volunteer crew including a changing and shower area, a fully-equipped crew training room, mechanics workshop, office space, and a base for the station’s D-class inshore lifeboat. The Sherborne RNLI fundraising volunteers are delighted to be able to support our colleagues with their appeal to raise £200,000 towards the project, and individuals as dedicated as Michael make the journey even more fun.’

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Our fundraisers celebrate the halfway point in their appeal.

Fundraisers at Swanage RNLI are celebrating this month after collecting over £100,000 in the first eight months of their charity appeal to raise £200,000. The money will go towards the cost of the new station needed to accommodate the town’s next lifeboat, which will be the 25 knot, all weather Shannon class. 
Credit: RNLI/Nigel Millard
The new Shannon will offer improved speed and manoeuvrability thanks to updated design techniques and water jet propulsion and is expected at Swanage in 2016, replacing the station’s current Mersey class lifeboat Robert Charles Brown.  

In July 2013, the Swanage RNLI fundraisers launched a special appeal to raise funds towards a new lifeboat station, which will house, launch and protect the new lifeboat and provide much improved facilities for the volunteer crew including a changing and shower area, a fully-equipped crew training room, mechanics workshop, office space, and a base for the station’s D-class inshore lifeboat. Now, having reached the halfway mark in the appeal, the fundraisers have paused to thank the local community and supporters further afield for their invaluable support so far.

Peter Foster, RNLI Appeal Fundraising Chairperson says;

‘It’s been a busy, but fun eight months and events organised by the Swanage Fundraising Branch have included a fancy dress Mama Mia musical sing-along evening, a traditional barn dance, bowls and croquet competitions, the Great Swanage Bake Off and more, all of which have been supported fantastically well by the local community. We’ve also been honoured to have received some amazing support from the community outside of Swanage who have adopted and embraced our boathouse appeal.

We’re now at the half way point, the second half of the appeal is traditionally the hardest as the initial enthusiasm wears off, but I don’t believe this to be true in Swanage. I think the station, the fundraisers and the local community have the motivation to keep going with a big push to try and reach our target in 2014.’

Some of the support received by the Swanage fundraisers includes the Fordingbridge RNLI Fundraising Branch who raised a staggering £15,000 by abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower in 2013. In February they raised £3,000 hosting a charity auction and are busy planning more events for 2014. 

In December, the Blackmore Vale RNLI Fundraising Branch donated an astonishing £30,000 raised during their annual Michaelmas Fair. . While the charity’s fundraising teams in Yeovil, Wareham and Wilton have collectively raised £10,000 through coffee mornings, talks, garden parties, raffles and other fundraising events

The volunteer lifeboat crew have also played their part, hosting Swanage’s annual Lifeboat Week during the summer and organising a car wash for the RNLI’s SOS Day at the end of January. The Purbeck Runners continue to support the RNLI in Swanage and last year donated £1500 to the appeal. While the Captain and Lady Captain of The Dorset Golf & Country Club are raising funds this year for the Swanage Boathouse Appeal
Some of the fundraising events planned for 2014 include;

15 March – Auction of Promises with the Lion’s Club
9-11 May – Official charity for the Diesel Gala weekend
20 June - Purbeck Runners 10 K and BBQ
17 July – Golf Day at Rushmore Estate
08 to 17 August – Swanage Lifeboat week
21 to 24 September – Jurassic Coast Golf Tournament

Neil Hardy, the RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager credit’s the appeals success to the determination of the local community to support the volunteer crew who provide a much needed lifesaving service in the town, he says;

‘Swanage RNLI holds a special place in many people’s hearts and we have had tremendous support, not just from our friends in the local community, but also that of people who, although they don’t live here, are fond of Swanage or who use the water’s nearby and want to offer their help. We’re of course very grateful and looking forward to the next stage of the appeal and the friendships it brings.’

To find out more about the events planned or donate to their charity appeal, visit the station’s blog at You can also donate £5 simply by texting RNLI SWANAGE to 70300.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Public meeting to view plans for new lifeboat station

The RNLI has been working on plans to replace the lifeboat station here at Swanage in order to accommodate our new Shannon class all weather lifeboat and improve the crew facilities.
We are delighted to be able to invite you along to a public presentation evening at 19:30 on Fri 28th March in the 'Winston Churchill Room' at Swanage Conservative Club.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Charity auction - Sat 15 March 2014

Swanage Lifeboat Fundraisers and the Lions Club of Swanage are holding a 50/50 auction of promises on Sat 15th March 2014 at The Old Malthouse, Langton Matravers. Doors open at 17:45 with viewing, food and bar from 18:00. The auction itself will start at 19:00.

Tickets are £5 per person to include a ploughman's supper.

Tickets and catalogues are available from David Dean on 01929 424975 or

The catalogue can also be viewed online at

Items include, gym membership, beach hut hire, use of a holiday cottage in Malta and tickets to camp Bestival. In total there are over 50 lots so make sure you have a look at the complete catalogue by clicking on the link above, there really is something for everyone.