About Us

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity that saves lives at sea. It places lifeboats in strategic positions and where crews are available. It supplies and maintains the boats and the crew training. That in short is their commitment. The locality provides the crews. Over time the motto “Drown you may but go you must” has become an unofficial mission statement for Lifeboat Crews. That is their commitment. The most westerly station in the RNLI lifeboat network is on Valentia Island.

A lifeboat station was first established on the mainland at Renard in 1864, but closed in 1896. It was not re-opened until 1939, and only then on a temporary basis, on Valentia Island. Valentia Lifeboat Station was reopened on a permanent basis in 1946, and has been open for over 70 years. The common denominator over those years is ordinary folk, volunteers, walking into the lifeboat station when a crew is needed and saying “I’ll Go”.

Lifeboats that served at Valentia Island are:

Official No Name Term Launches Lives Saved
(None) Mary 1864-80 6 Nil
174 Crosby Leonard 1880-90 4 Nil
690 C&S 1946-47 2 Nil
687 BASP 1947-51 14 2
717 AED 1951-57 57 80
938 Rowland Watts 1957-83 158 132
1082 Margaret Frances Love 1983-96 192 73
1218 John & Margaret Doig 1996 – present In service In service

The full story of Valentia Lifeboat is told in “Valentia Lifeboats, A History” by Dick Robinson and published in 2011 by The History Press Ireland.

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