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Our Lifeboat History start with the “Preventative Water Guards” in 1809, the ancestor of HM Coastguard. Its main objective was to prevent smuggling, and responsible for giving assistance to shipwrecks. For this reason, each Water Guard station was issued with a Manby’s Mortar (the mortar fired a shot with a line attached from the shore to the wrecked ship and was used for many years). The mortar is a very short cannon the Americans call it a Lyle Gun. From about the 1830’s Rockets replaced the mortar, as rockets were lighter to carry long distances, also used with flares could be seen in the dark.
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Once the ropes were attached a pulley and Lifebelt formed a seat, transporting the ships crew and passengers to shore, called beeches buoy.
Lifeboats developed from Viking clinker wooden planked seaworthy, strong fishing whale boats with oars called pushers, sails were added for longer journeys. In 1785 Lionel Lukin patented the “Unimmergible Boat”. This was a strong heavy cast-iron keel, packed inside the bow and stern air-tight boxes, down each side of gunwales were thick layers of cork. This made the boat almost unsinkable.
Over the next 200 years the design changed for the better, in 1851 the Duke of Northumberland held a competition, many new designs were built the one that stands out for me was Henry Richardson’s Tubular Lifeboat. It had a long successful life stationed at Rhyl, North Wales.
Its design has been proven for over 100 years today’s inflatables continue this unbroken line. You will enjoy reading and discovering all these wonderful facts, my tribute and respect for those who perish or are saved on the sea. Our gratitude to all Lifesavers, everywhere.