Ramsgate Lifeboat
In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard
This is the official web site for the RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat Station.

The RNLI exists to save lives at sea and is wholly supported by voluntary contributions.

We hope that you will enjoy your visit.

The RNLI's lifeguards can't be everywhere this summer. If you're heading to the coast, #BeBeachSafe: check the weather and tides, keep an eye on your family and don't use inflatables. In an emergency call 999 for the Coastguard. Find safety advice at www.bit.ly/BeachSafety_RNLI_

Ramsgate Tides

Broadstairs Tides

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Latest News

27th May 2020

We’re working as quickly as possible to roll out our lifeguard service, starting with key beaches in England this weekend. But our Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, has written this open letter as we ask for help to manage an impossible situation.

Lifeguards are due to start covering Viking Bay Broadstairs from May 30, dependent on the arrival of personal protective equipment, with Margate following on June 20. There is currently no plans to cover Ramsgate Beach.
26th May 2020

This weekend Ramsgate would have been celebrating the 80th. anniversary of the Dunkirk Evacuation with a number of the ‘Little Ships’ that took part being moored in the harbour prior to leaving for Dunkirk.

Although some 19 RNLI lifeboats took part in the Dunkirk evacuation only 2, those of Margate and Ramsgate, went with their own crews following a request early on 30th. May 1940 from the local senior naval officers. After provisioning, the Ramsgate lifeboat ‘Prudential’ under the command of Coxswain Howard Knight left at 2.30pm and following a 50 mile mine-swept route to the beaches of Dunkirk arriving at 8pm.

After some 40 hours at sea, 30 under enemy fire during which they rescued 2,800 allied soldiers, the exhausted crew arrived back in Ramsgate at 6.50pm on 1st. June. Subsequently Coxswains Howard Knight and Edward Parker of Margate were each awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and all crew members were presented with Certificates on Vellum by the RNLI.

The Ramsgate crew pictured (courtesy of Ramsgate RNLI) are from left, standing, Edward Cooper, Ernest Attwood, Alfred Liddle, John Hawkes, Thomas Goldfinch and, seated, Charles Knight, Alfred Moody, Howard Knight, Thomas Read.

Full information with Howard Knight’s personal recollections can be found in the Ramsgate Lifeboat Station history book available at https://shop.rnli.org

Author John Ray, Station Archivist
29th April 2020
1884: Design of the RNLI flag
In 1884, Leonora Preston designed the RNLI flag after her brother was rescued by Ramsgate lifeboat volunteers.

Adorning the side of every lifeboat and flying at every lifeboat station, the RNLI flag has been the symbol of saving lives at sea for over a century.

The design of the flag, quite fittingly, is linked with an RNLI rescue. In 1882, Ramsgate lifeboat Bradford went to the rescue of a vessel that was ashore on the Goodwin Sands.

The crew rescued nine people from the wreckage, one of whom was Robert A.B Preston. After the rescue, Robert took a great and lifelong interest in lifeboats and the work of the RNLI, donating a lifeboat to the Institution and going on to the Committee of Management.

The first RNLI flag, designed by Leonora Preston in 1884, bearing the Tudor crown worn by King George Vl

In 1884, 2 years after the rescue, Robert’s sister, Miss Leonora Preston, designed a flag for the RNLI.

She used the St George’s cross as the basis for the flag, adding a dark blue bordering and red RNLI lettering in each of the four white cantons.

Finally, in the centre of the flag, she placed a Tudor crown and a foul anchor, signifying the charity’s dedication to the sea and its Royal Charter.

In 1908, the RNLI formally adopted the flag and flew it proudly from all lifeboat stations.

New queen, new flag

The RNLI flag from 1953 to present day featuring the St Edward’s crown worn by Queen Elizabeth ll

In 1953, after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the RNLI changed the crown in the centre of the flag from the Tudor style, as worn by King George VI, to the St Edward’s crown worn by the newly appointed monarch.
24th April 2020

The RNLI’s lifeboats both inshore and all weather, are by their nature sturdy and built to last so once they have completed their service at our Lifeboat stations that will not be the end of their life.

Tracking down where they are now can be a difficult job but luckily Ramsgate RNLI station has a budding detective in the shape of Sarah Hewes, our Fundraising Chairman and she has been on the case tracing Ramsgate’s past lifeboats.

The story of Inshore Lifeboat Atlantic 75 B Class, B-765, started when RNLI supporter Bob Turnbull left a legacy in his will. The brand new boat was delivered to Ramsgate in 2000 and as is tradition a naming ceremony was held on 9 September at 3pm in the presence of Mrs Jane Turnbull, Bob’s widow, and Sir John James KCBO, the Deputy Chairman of the RNLI.

Sir John delivered it into the care of Ramsgate RNLI, which was accepted on Ramsgate’s behalf by Captain Geoffrey Tully who was the Hon. Sec. of Ramsgate RNLI at the time.

The Bob Turnbull B-765 was active at Ramsgate from 2000 until 2014 when it was replaced by an updated boat, the Claire and David Delves Atlantic 85 which is being used by our volunteer crew at this present time.

At the end of its career in Ramsgate Inshore Lifeboat Bob Turnbull was returned to the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole, in Dorset in preparation to be sold but not before her name plates were removed and kept at the Ramsgate RNLI station in memory of her service.

She was bought by Botes Salvavidas for Valparaiso which is an Emergency Rescue Service based in Valparaiso in Chile South America, run similarly to our own RNLI relying on legacies and donations from the public. And so began the second part of her life saving career.

B-765 was shipped to Chile in the company of a West Mersea Lifeboat, a B-761 called Dignity.  On arrival both boats were overhauled with their engines replaced and all identifying marks removed, or so they thought. By mistake the RNLI logo was left on the hull of Bill Turnbull so she still remains identifiable as can be seen in this image if you look carefully.

In the foreground is Bill Turnbull, look to the front of the boat and you will see the RNLI logo.

The story doesn’t end there!

A couple of years ago the Manager of Broadstairs RNLI Kiosk Jean Hefford happened to be on holiday in Chile. Sarah had asked her to keep an eye out for the boats and it happened that Jean was having a meal in a restaurant above the station so managed to take some photos. On her return home she sent the Captain of the station Louis Cortez-Bosch keyrings and postcards of Bob Turnbull as a thank you as it was he who kindly sent Sarah the photographs of the lifeboats. The lifeboats are now renamed as BS-R11 for Bill Turnbull and BS-R10 for Dignity.

B5-R11 is now part of a larger fleet, joining an all weather Mersea previously from Scarborough RNLI as well as the other Atlantic B5-R10 plus other non RNLI ribs. She maybe a distance from home but it is lovely to see her continuing her work of saving lives at sea.
16th March 2020
Lifejacket Clinic At Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate Proves A Resounding Success!
On Sunday (15th March 2020) team members ran a lifejacket clinic at the Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate at the kind invitation of the Club Commodore.

Many of you will own a lifejacket or bouyancy aid (also known as a personal floatation device) or certainly have worn one in the past if you take part in any form of water based activity such as sailoring, off-shore angling, sea fishing, motor boating, paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking. Your lifejacket may help save your life one day, but only if you maintain it properly and wear it for your chosen activity.

You may have heard the term ‘useless unless worn’ in articles about safety whilst on the water, which is so true when considering what a such important part a lifejacket plays in your everyday safety drills. So, the clinic is all about helping to keep people safe by checking their lifejackets and giving out other advice to keep them safe whilst on the water.

Throughout the lifejacket clinic the team checked nineteen lifejackets intotal and sixty eight per cent failed for a variety of reasons. Which included : corroded cylinders and out-of-date firing mechanism’s.

RNLI recommendation

The RNLI recommend’s that the owner/skipper undertakes a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently and to have the lifejacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. We must point out that an inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Adviser is not the equavalent of a lifejacket service.

Here are our recommended basic checks which should be undertaken prior to every trip before donning the lifejacket:

Inspect the outside of the lifejacket for wear and tear

Even it is a lifejacket with an inspection window, undo the jacket at the point next to the inflator

Check the gas cylinder is handtight, or if it’s a bayonet type firmly locked in position

If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired

Replace with a new cylinder if required

Look for the green  indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system

Keep spare cylinders and the replaceable parts for the automatic firing system on hand, so that if required the jacket can be re-armed. Alternatively, keep spare armed jackets aboard the vessel.


Lifejacket inspections can be undertaken during an advice on board session, at a lifejacket clinic (as at the Royal Temple Yacht Club) or ad-hoc when speaking with members of the public during our ‘walking the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour. Just drop our team a private message on our Facebook page and we can organise a lifejacket check or Advice on Board session for you completely free of charge.

We would like to thank all the people who visited the lifejacket clinic and brought along their jackets to be checked. A big shout out also to Karen Cox (Ramsgate Lifeboat Press Officer) and the Royal Temple Yacht Club staff for making us very welcome and for facilitating our clinic.

Other useful references

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

Anglers and lifejackets

Why wearing a lifejacket or bouyancy aid is so important!


Royal Temple Yacht Club
15th March 2020

Our new Fundraising and Partnerships Lead, Claire Cardwell made her first visit to RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat Station on Friday 13th March. She held a meeting with our Chairman of Fundraising, Sarah Hewes and chatted to our Coxswain, Ian Cannon and the Crew who were at the Station before briefly visiting the RNLI Ramsgate Shop.

Whilst at the Station she was kindly given a tour of our all-weather lifeboat “Esme Anderson” by Phil Mace our Mechanic and was shown our inshore lifeboat “Claire & David Delves”.

We hope you enjoyed your first visit Claire & we look forward to working with you in the future.
Photo by Sarah Hewes
News Archive

Recent Launches

Service Call 9
29th May @ 12:58 ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard, after receiving a pan pan from a motor cruiser with engine failure off Dumpton Gap. Arriving on scene the ILB passed a line and once the casualty had retrieved their anchor, towed them into Ramsgate Harbour.

On entering the outer harbour the ILB helm gave some safety advice to 2 persons on an inflatable kayak.
Photo Mark Stanford
Service Call 8
26th May @ 11:22 AWB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a report from a passing ship, of a vessel broken down near the Foxtrot Buoy. On scene the casualties were taken aboard the AWB and brought ashore, with their vessel in tow.
Service Call 7
21st May @ 21:09 ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a jet Ski with 2 persons in difficulty near Stone Bay. On scene 2 ILB crew went ashore and brought the jet ski out to the ILB and made it ready for towing. The 2 jet ski riders were taken aboard the ILB, which then made its way to the jet ski launch area near the Ramsgate Tunnels. Once the jet ski and riders were landed safely ashore the ILB returned to station.
Service Call 5 & 6
14th April @ 02:30 both AWB & ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a report of a person reported missing. Both boats carried out a thorough search of the area, along with Mobile Coastguard units shoreside. After an hours search a report came in that the missing person was reported to be safely ashore. Once this had been confirmed by the police, both boats were released and returned to station.
Service Call 4
7th April @ 09:54 ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a report from a member of the public of persons cut off by the tide at Dumpton Gap. ILB arrived on scene and after carrying out a thorough search of the area found no persons in difficulty.
Service Call 3
14th March @ 19:33 AWB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a 9m yacht with fouled propeller, East of the Thanet Offshore Windfarm. Whilst on route we received an updated position for the casualty, which had now drifted even further away.

Once on scene the AWB passed a line and started the tow back to Ramsgate. With the deteriorating sea conditions it was only possible to tow the casualty at 4.5 - 5 knots in order to minimise the possibility of damage to the vessel or injury to the 3 persons onboard.

On arrival at Ramsgate Harbour the casualty was berthed on a pontoon, assisted by a Coastguard mobile unit who assist with mooring the casualty shoreside. AWB ready for service 01:15 Sunday morning
Service Archive

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A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736).
Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.