News from Fleetwood RNLI

News from Fleetwood RNLI

What’s happening at Fleetwood RNLI. Would you like to help to save lives at sea? They always need new volunteers and are calling on local people to come forward now.

Fleetwood RNLI Inshore Lifeboat Reaches its 10th Year

In November 2019 Fleetwood RNLI celebrates the 10th anniversary of its in-shore lifeboat, D-719, Mary Elizabeth Barnes. The lifeboat went into service in November 2009 (seen above) and was named the following summer.

Naming the new Inshore Lifeboat at Fleetwood RNLI in 2010
Naming the new Inshore Lifeboat at Fleetwood RNLI in 2010. Recognise anyone you know?

The lifeboat arrived in Fleetwood following the generous bequest from Mary Preston, who made the donation to honour her family, Barnes. The lifeboat is named after her late grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Barnes.

History of Rescues

Sign Up

Since D-719 arrived in Fleetwood, it has launched 319 times, rescued 276 people and saved 11 lives.

In-shore rescue boats were placed into service by the life saving charity in 1963, following the rise in leisure activities in and on the in-shore waters of our coast. The first in-shore lifeboat arrived in Fleetwood in 1966 and was on service between Easter and the end of October until 1984. The in-shore lifeboat has been on service all year, ever since.

The most notable rescue by the Fleetwood in-shore lifeboat, took place on 23 March, 1984, when, following a request by Liverpool Coastguard, the in-shore lifeboat, D-298 was launched to rescue a windsurfer, who was in difficulty in force 8 gales, off the shore near Rossall hospital.

The in-shore lifeboat launched with Stephen Musgrave at the helm, alongside crew members Barrie Farmer and David Owen. Despite the very difficult weather conditions, they rescued the windsurfer and brought him back to the lifeboat station.

For this rescue, Stephen was awarded the RNLI Thanks on Vellum, whilst Barrie and David were warded Vellum Service Certificates. All three volunteers were awarded the ‘Ralph Glister Award’ for the most meritorious service in a lifeboat under 10 metres in 1984.

Would you like to join Fleetwood RNLI?

Shore Crew at Fleetwood lifeboat station are now progressing onto lifeboat training and Lifeboat Operations Manager, Captain David Eccles, needs several replacements.

Fleetwood all-weather lifeboat out on a rescue near the wind farm. Credit: Ben My Chree, Isle of Man Ferries

He said, ‘Our Shore Crew are now training on our lifeboats. So, we’re looking for local people to join us, initially as Shore Crew, before hopefully, progressing as they are now, onto the lifeboats. This is our biggest recruitment drive to date and we want to have new crew members in place by the end of February, so we can actively train over the Summer.’

Volunteers need to be fit and be able to show commitment to both their extensive training and their colleagues. Being called out to help launch the lifeboats in the middle of the night, is also a distinct possibility!

‘The sea is very unpredictable, the weather unforgiving at times, but there’s no feeling like it, when you come back off a call-out, knowing you’ve helped save somebody’s life.’ said Coxswain Tony Cowell. ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to join a great team, who really do make a difference’.

People interested in volunteering for the RNLI at Fleetwood and want to find out more about the role, should call in at the lifeboat station at 7.15pm on Tuesday evenings for a chat with the Lifeboat Operations Manager. Please mention you saw it on Visit Fleetwood!

New Community Safety Officer to help reduce the number of people drowning each year

Nathan Hackney, a lecturer in Offshore Safety at Fleetwood Nautical College, has been appointed to the voluntary role of Community Safety Officer. He’s looking to visit local groups and organisations, to help achieve the RNLI’s target of reducing drownings by 50% by 2024.

Nathan, who’s been a volunteer at Fleetwood RNLI for 6 years, is looking forward to the challenge. He said; ‘There are around 190 drownings in the UK every year and we hope that by giving advice to people who work, play or happen to live near water, that they may stop themselves from getting into a dangerous situation. The RNLI have set an ambitious target, but every life saved has to be a good thing.’

Local groups, schools or organisations who would like Nathan to visit or advise them, should contact him at

Fleetwood RNLI announce new Coxswain

Published 9.9.17

Fleetwood RNLI have announced that Tony Cowell, who was 2nd Coxswain with the volunteer lifeboat crew, is to be the new Coxswain at the lifeboat station.

Tony Cowell and Gary Randles, Coxswain of Fleetwood RNLI
Tony Cowell and Gary Randles, Coxswain of Fleetwood RNLI

Outgoing Coxswain Gary Randles, handing over to new Coxswain, Tony Cowell.

Tony, who is Skipper of the famous Fleetwood to Knott End ferry, has been with the RNLI for 10 years. He’s also the last Skipper of Fleetwood’s inshore fishing fleet which is still at sea.

Tony Cowell, Skipper of Fleetwood ferry, now Coxswain of Fleetwood RNLI
Shannon class all-weather lifeboat.

He took over from Gary Randles, who has stepped down due to work commitments. Gary will now be 2nd Coxswain.

Tony said, ‘This is a great honour for me. I grew up with the Fleetwood fishing fleet and came to respect the lifeboat volunteers, very early on in my career. To be part of the RNLI family, is something I’ve always wanted to do. To become their Coxswain is just the biggest honour. I have some huge shoes to fill, as I’ve known 11 Coxswains and have the utmost respect for them and their work here at the lifeboat station.’

On the day the Coxswain position was handed over to Tony, he learnt he’d become a Grandfather for the 8th time. All in all, a memorable day for Tony.

Fleetwood RNLI meet 605 Squadron

When the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat at Fleetwood RNLI was named after an ex RAF Officer, it brought together two unlikely organisations.

On Sunday 20 August, 605 RAF Reserve Squadron and Fleetwood RNLI met to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Kenneth James Pierpoint’s tragic death and after whom the lifeboat is named.

Wing Commander Paul Bell of 605 Squadron brought 12 RAF colleagues from the Midland’s based squadron to Fleetwood, to visit the Kenneth James Pierpoint and the volunteer lifeboat crew.

Fleetwood RNLI Captain David Eccles receiving the 605 Squadron shield from Wing Commander Paul Bell
Captain David Eccles receiving the 605 Squadron shield from Wing Commander Paul Bell

The photograph shows Captain David Eccles receiving the 605 Squadron shield from Wing Commander Paul Bell

A presentation was made by Wing Commander Bell to Captain David Eccles of Fleetwood RNLI in the form of a shield, bearing the famous 605 Squadron crest and motto.

The 605 Squadron shield, presented to Fleetwood RNLI
The 605 Squadron shield, presented to Fleetwood RNLI

Captain Eccles reciprocated with a framed photograph of the lifeboat, surrounded by the signatures of the volunteer lifeboat crew.

Captain Eccles said, “It’s a fairly unique association with 605 Squadron and the team there have become friends with the crew in Fleetwood. It’s an honour to meet up with them again today. It’s fitting that the motto of 605 RAF Reserve Squadron is ‘NUNQUAM DORMIO’, translated as ‘I never sleep’. It perfectly fits the lifeboat that is named after their old comrade, Kenneth James Pierpoint.”

Wing Commander Bell then took the members of 605 Squadron, to meet up with Altrincham Grammar School Old Boys, Kenneth James Pierpoint’s former school, for a short service at his grave side.

Photos: K Harcombe – Press Officer, Fleetwood RNLI

A Sweet Way to Raise Money for the RNLI

Published August 2017

The fundraising team at RNLI Fleetwood, have joined an initiative to raise funds out of mini jam jars and 5p pieces.

5p Fundraising jam jars from Fleetwood RNLI

Named ‘Betty’s 5p pots’ after Betty Frith who started the scheme at RNLI Hertford, the simple idea is to use recycled mini jam jars, which people fill with 5p pieces and once full, return to the local RNLI shop at Fleetwood.

Over 80 were handed out on Fleetwood Lifeboat Day and the scheme has already raised over £70, before the scheme was even launched.

Lynda Woodhouse, Chairman Fleetwood RNLI Finance Branch said, ‘The simplest ideas are best. These mini jars were being thrown into the recycling bin by hotels and cafes, so are readily available. They hold around £2 when full. This is a great way for our smallest coin to make a huge difference with donations to the RNLI. If any cafes or shops want to help distribute them for us, contact us at the RNLI shop.’

As always, support from the local community is vital and this campaign has received amazing support from The North Euston Hotel, Second Chapter Book Store and Costa Coffee, who supplied the mini jam jars.

The mini jam jars, complete with RNLI labelling, can be collected at the RNLI shop or The Ferry Café, Fleetwood, next to the lifeboat station and returned there when full. They’ll empty it and hand the jar back to you, to continue your fantastic contributions to the RNLI.

Obviously if you’ve got your own jam jars – large or small – that you’d like to save any denomination of loose change in, you would be very welcome to hand in whatever you collect!

Fleetwood RNLI called out on Medical Transfer

Published June 2017

The volunteer lifeboat crew from Fleetwood, were called out on 31 May by UK Coastguard, to transfer a crew member from a work boat out on the Wyre estuary, who’d fallen ill.

The tug boat, Eraclea, asked for the UK Coastguard for assistance, after one of their crew members fell ill. The tug, working alongside the cable laying Maersk Connector, was positioned off Kings Scar, Fleetwood, when the incident occurred.

Maersk Connector ship in Morecambe Bay, medical transfer carried out by Fleetwood RNLI

The all-weather lifeboat, Kenneth James Pierpoint, was launched to pick up the crew member and return him to Fleetwood. Members of North West Ambulance were waiting to treat him as he landed on the Fleetwood-Knott End ferry quayside. He was taken to Fleetwood Day Care Centre as a precaution and was expected to make a full recovery.

Medical transfer for Fleetwood RNLI in May 17Kenneth James Pierpoint returning from the rescue.
Photo: Ken Harcombe (Volunteer Press Officer)

Gary Randles, Coxswain for Fleetwood lifeboat said, ‘Obviously, with a medical emergency, you’re not too sure what you’re going to find when you arrive. Fortunately, he was conscious and seemed OK. Nevertheless, we were happy to see our colleagues from North West Ambulance waiting at the quayside.’

Fleetwood RNLI receive £250 donation from book sales

Published March 2017

Following the launch of their book ‘Heroes of the Waves’, authors Dr Stephen Musgrave and David Pearce have donated £250, in what is hoped is the first of many donations to Fleetwood RNLI, from the proceeds of the book sales.

Donation to Fleetwood RNLI from book, Heroes of the Waves

Stephen, who became a volunteer Shore Helper at Fleetwood RNLI in 1967 before becoming 2nd Coxswain in 1980, met David, who was a local journalist and covered some of the Fleetwood lifeboat stories, and they became firm friends.

Stephen asked David to help with the book, to cover the human side of the Fleetwood lifeboat story, as well as advise on the historical element. The book took 18 months to write and they decided to donate all proceeds from the sales of their book to their local RNLI.

Heroes of the Waves, Fleetwood RNLI
The book ‘Heroes of the Waves’ is available at Fleetwood RNLI shop

Stephen won many awards with Fleetwood RNLI, including the prestigious Ralph Galister Award, in 1984. David and his wife Sue, became fund raisers for Fleetwood RNLI. Their association with the volunteer lifeboat service stretches back over 50 years.

Captain David Eccles, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Fleetwood RNLI said, ‘This is a magnificent gesture by Stephen and David. It’s an excellent book and I know they enjoyed writing it, as it was of great interest to them. We all hope the book continues with the success it richly deserves.’

RNLI Photo: The photograph shows Dr Stephen Musgrave & David Pearce, being interviewed by Maria Felix Vas from Radio Lancashire. Credit: Ken Harcombe (Fleetwood RNLI)

Donation to Fleetwood RNLI via scrap metal

Published January 2017

Fleetwood scrap metal company, Foulds, based on Sidings Road, donated £1,186 to Fleetwood RNLI at the charity’s Christmas Ball.

Foulds Metals make donation to Fleetwood RNLIL-R: Liam Barnes of Foulds with Captain David Eccles and Coxswain Gary Randles, from Fleetwood RNLI. Photo: Paul Ashworth

Foulds Metals offered to collect donated scrap metal at their yard and convert it into cash for the volunteers at Fleetwood lifeboat.

The charity scrap metal skip is placed at the entrance to the yard and there is a constant supply from generous members of the public, keen to clear out unwanted metal and happy to donate the proceeds to their local lifeboat station.

This is the second donation from Foulds via their charity skip. Liam Barnes, Manager at Foulds said ‘This is a great way for local people to donate to our lifeboat station. It’s been incredibly successful and we’re more than happy to continue our support for the RNLI volunteers.’

Captain David Eccles, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Fleetwood RNLI said ‘We’re so grateful to local companies like Foulds for their fantastic support. This is a brilliant idea by them.’

Join In

Fleetwood Lifeboat Station is at The Esplanade, Fleetwood, FY7 6DN.

Tel: 01253 874000 (Dial 999 in an emergency)

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea.

For a place like Fleetwood where fishing, boats, the seashore (with all it’s dangerous tides and channels) and all things nautical are embedded in the fabric of daily life, it’s a vital charity which many people would have been in serious trouble without.

Fleetwood Lifeboat has a crew of 25 volunteers who go out in the boats and answer emergency calls. They save lives and rescuing people – from what might be not much more than a minor skirmish with the water through to a full blown, serious incident, which can and do claim lives.

Fleetwood RNLI has a separate Fundraising and events group, who raise money and awareness thorughout the year, to support the work of the RNLI all over the UK.

Their fundraising is absolutely vital, because they raise the money which pays for the equipment, boats, infrastructure, training, and much, much more, all of which enables the RNLI and lifeboats to operate.

Could you spare a few hours?

The Fundraising group are on the lookout for volunteers. The more volunteers which they have, the more money they can raise for this crucial public service. Just ask yourself, where would we be on the Fylde Coast without the RNLI?

Whatever your talents, and however much time you can spare, there will be a job that you can do. Every charity and community organisation needs different people with different talents and Fleetwood RNLI is no different.

Fleetwood RNLI Shop

Fleetwood RNLI Fundraising are particularly in need of people to work in the shop. Out of season it opens on market days, but from the end of March it opens seven days a week. It’s entirely staffed by volunteers, and people are particularly needed to help out on Friday, saturday and Sunday each week.

If you’ve never been in go and take a look. It’s a great shop with loads of nice things to take your fancy. Especially if you’re looking for gifts for family and friends, or if you’re on holiday and want to buy something nice to take home.

Get back what you give

If you volunteer you give your time and your skills freely. But it’s not all about what you give, because you will get rewarded in many ways.

  • It’s a great way to make friends – maybe you are retired, your partner has died, or you are new to the area and want to make friends and fill your time.
  • It’s rewarding to think that you’ve achieved something positive, and been part of a bigger whole.
  • It’s interesting to be part of the community, to meet and talk to people.
  • And what better spot could there be to do it than on the fabulous seafront at Fleetwood!

Volunteer with Fleetwood RNLI

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Visit Fleetwood website for more of the latest updates.

Love the Fylde Coast? Sign up for your weekly email newsletter. Packed full of interesting things it arrives in your inbox all 52 weeks of the year.

Join us on Facebook at our Visit Fylde Coast Facebook Group

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @visitFyldeCoast

What do you think? Leave a comment below

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *