News Archives

This is the place to keep track of all news about the station past and present, we will try and get these pages updated as quickly as possible.

Date: 30th August 2012

Both of Hastings RNLI lifeboats were in action last night after a yacht ran aground at Bexhill.

Both Hastings lifeboats were called at 0.32 this morning following reports form the Coastguard that a yacht had run aground on the beach at Bexhill.  With the lifeboat on the way it was reported that the vessel’s lone occupant – and his pet dog – were safely ashore. It also became evident that the boat was stranded high and dry on the beach by the receding tide. With everyone safe, and nothing more to be done, the lifeboats stood down at 2.00 this morning.

Yacht aground at Bexhill – Credit @oldtownpaul via Twitter


Seven hours later, at just after 9.00 this morning the inshore lifeboat was back on scene, with the all-weather lifeboat on stand by.  The yacht’s owner had indicated that he intended to try and re-float his vessel on the morning’s high tide.  However, further investigation revealed that the that the boat may have been damaged as a result of being grounded, and the worsening sea state meant that the attempt to re float had to be abandoned. The inshore lifeboat stayed with the casualty while the owner retrieved some personal possessions before returning to station at Hastings.




New Lifejackets for Hastings crew

Crew in new Lifejackets

The new lifejackets for both the ILB and ALB crews have been commissioned because the previous lifejackets were coming to the end of their recommended operational life span.

The design of the lifejackets was led by an RNLI technical expert, in close consultation with volunteer crews around the coast. This meant the RNLI was able to bring a wealth of detailed user feedback into the two year development process, and ensure that its crews were completely happy with the design.

Andrew Ashton, Divisional Inspector for the RNLI (East), said: ‘Lifejackets are an essential piece of every lifeboat volunteer’s kit. Indeed, as the voice of authority on sea safety equipment, the RNLI strives to encourage everyone at sea to wear lifejackets as they are proven to increase one’s chances of surviving a disaster.’

He continued: ‘Whether our crews are operating from their lifeboat or recovering a casualty from the sea, their lifejacket is a lifesaver. The new design is specially developed for current RNLI search and rescue and has some very important features that will aid them in their work.

The lifejacket is more comfortable than the old style and features the highest specifications for our volunteer crews. They are automatic and manual inflation and also store two personal flares (combined red pin point and orange smoke), a whistle and a light. They also have personal lifelines and pockets which hold our First Aid Check Cards.

After a big fundraising effort we have to say a huge Thank you to everyone that donated money towards the cost of the Lifejackets. Those included are crewmember Colin Bewes for running the 1/2 Marathon, Hastings & St Leonards Rotary for the Bike Ride in April and The Hastings Carnival Free Beach Concert 2011, Pett Harvest Home and many more. (apologies for not being able to name everyone)


Date: 8th August 2012

Hastings RNLI Lifeboat Launches to Yacht in Trouble

The Hastings RNLI lifeboat launched on Tuesday 7th August to a yacht in trouble off Hastings.

The Hastings RNLI lifeboat and its volunteer crew launched on Tuesday afternoon following an emergency call from the yacht ‘Tallulah’ sailing from Boulogne on its way to the Solent.  The vessel with three people on board reported difficulties in the tide and wind, compounded by the fact that fuel contamination meant their engine would not start. The lifeboat launched at 15.55, a tow line was established and the casualty was then taken to Eastbourne.

Hastings RNLI lifeboat Second Coxswain, Graham Furness, said: ‘This was a routine job for us, which on the face of it was quite straight forward, but such incidents can turn quickly serious and that is why the lifeboat and its volunteer crew are always ready to offer assistance to anyone in trouble at sea, it also enables the crew to put into practice the skills they learn in training.’



Date:   11th July 2012

Tragedy feared as diver goes missing  

 After over eight hours at sea the combined search and rescue units of the RNLI and HM Coastguard were stood down in their search for a diver who was lost overboard off Eastbourne yesterday.

 A distress call was received from a dive boat six miles off Eastbourne shortly after 1pm yesterday afternoon when one of the members fell overboard and disappeared from view whilst returning from their dive. Eastbourne lifeboat and the Coastguard rescue helicopter 104 were initially scrambled from their respective bases to conduct a search.

Given the prevailing sea conditions and the urgency of the task Hastings’ all-weather lifeboat was also launched to help with the search. The trial RNLI Shannon class lifeboat which had stayed overnight in Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne whilst on passage was also requested to attend along with other passing craft.

Tragically after over eight hours at sea conducting a thorough co-ordinated search of the area with nothing found and with failing light the operation was terminated at 9.15pm.



Crew member Sloane Phillips and Ludo Bennett-Jones

Date:   18 June 2012

Hastings RNLI help Ludo’s Round Britain Challenge

Hastings RNLI Inshore Lifeboat launched last Saturday (7th July) to an 16ft Wayfarer dinghy in trouble with a broken rudder.  It quickly became clear however that this was no ordinary days sailing gone wrong … The dinghy was being sailed around the coastline of Britain by Ludo Bennett-Jones and various companions to raise money for Sport Relief and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. 

Ludo had set off from Cowes at the end of April sailing clockwise around Britain.  He was on the final push of this epic challenge when a broken rudder meant he needed to call on the services of the RNLI.

The Hastings RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched and found the stricken dinghy approx three nautical miles south-east of the lifeboat station.  It was quickly established that both people on board were well; all they needed was a tow to shore.  The tow was established and a course set for the beach at Hastings, arriving some thirty minutes later.  The lifeboat crew assisted in the safe recovery of Ludo’s boat onto the beach and provided suitable refreshments to him and his team.

The following morning (Sunday) a replacement rudder arrived from Portsmouth and the lifeboat crew again assisted Ludo in re-launching the boat so that he could continue on his amazing journey.

Before leaving Ludo commented: “After losing my rudder, leaving me without any steerage, I got towed in. It was done professionally and responsibly by great members of the community who go out in the harshest conditions to save lives.  Although I was not medically in trouble I would have struggled to make shore without the commitment and dedication shown by the members of the RNLI Hastings. Ordinary members of the community doing an extraordinary job – Thank you.”

Ludo should hopefully complete his voyage on Thursday 12th July his progress can be tracked online at

This was a unique incident in that the RNLI were called to help not only a sailor in difficulty, but by doing so have helped two other charities in their fundraising efforts.


Jan 08
Wanted – 150 years of volunteers!

Ex-RNLI Personnel invited to become part of celebrations
As the station celbrates its 150th Anniversary, Martin Phillips, Coxswain, is asking for any volunteer members from the past who have fallen out of touch to get in contact. ‘The week is celebrating the history of the station, and so we would like as many faces from the past to join the current volunteers in the festivities’.
The station, which was first established by the RNLI in 1858, came about at the request of locals who witnessed the loss of a whole crew when a sailboat was wrecked nearby. Hastings crew members went on to be recognised for many acts of gallantry – not least for their efforts during the Second World War. The lifeboat Cyril and Lilian Bishop took part in the evacuation of the British Expiditionary Force from Dunkirk. Another outstanding wartime service was a rescue of seven men from a wrecked trawler in heavy seas. Coxswain John E Muggridge, on his first service in this position, and mechanic W R Hilder were each awarded Bronze Medals for Gallantry, however, sadly, a few days after he won his medal, the Coxswain struck a mine in his fishing boat and was killed. Then, eight weeks later, Motor Mechanic Hilder wa killed during an air raid. The Muggridge name has appeared many times in the Hastings crew lists over the years – saving lives at sea seems to be in the familys blood.
One of the other outstanding gallantry awards at Hastings came in 1975 when the Lifeboat Medical Advisor, Dr Peter Davy, received a Silver Medal. Dr Davy broke seven ribs while being lifted into a helicopter from the lifeboat, and, although in great pain, went to the aid of an injured man aboard an Argentinian warship. ‘It is rescues like these that have given us a good lifesaving reputation, which we’re keen to build on,’ added Coxswain Phillips.
You can contact the station on


Feb 08
Hastings will get a brand new lifeboat in time for the stations 150th anniversary celebrations.

The new inshore lifeboat, brought entirely from public donations, will go on service exactly 150 years to the day since the RNLI began to operate in Hastings. The new boat will be called the “Daphne May,” after Daphne May Lovegrove, a life-long supporter of the RNLI, who raised money for the Institution for over 50 years in the Rye and Winchelsea area. A major donor to last year’s lifeboat appeal was Martin Lovegrove who wanted to name the boat after his mother. Mr Lovegrove and members of his family will be at the naming ceremony, which will be held on 5th April and will form the opening event in a weeklong celebration to mark the stations 150th birthday.
The new boat is presently being built at an RNLI boatyard on the Isle of Wight. Its completion in time for the 150th celebrations has now been confirmed.
The design of the RNLI’s inshore lifeboats has continued to evolve since their introduction over 40 years ago. The boats are small and highly manouverable; making them ideal for rescues close to shore. The new Hastings boat is both faster and better equipped than the present one. It will have a top speed of 25 knots (or 30 miles an hour), a range of 3 hours at maximum speed, and better radio and navigation equipment to help crews respond more quickly to search and rescue operations.
Hastings certainly needs its new boat. In 2007 alone the inshore boat launched 28 times and rescued 23 people. Also last year Senior Helmsman Simon Hodgson and crewmembers Glenn Barry and Sloane Phillips each received bravery awards following the rescue of a swimmer in 2006. In very difficult conditions the swimmer was found face down in the water and recovered to shore, but unfortunately later died.
Hastings Coxswain Martin Philips is thrilled at the prospect of the new boat: “It’s great news. The generosity of Mr Lovegrove and everyone who donated means we will now have our new inshore lifeboat and enough money to maintain it and train the volunteer crews who use it. I’d personally to extend a big “Thank You” to all those who made this possible.


March 08
The RNLI’s oldest surviving lifeboat is coming to Hastings.

Oldest Lifeboat coming to Hastings
The “Queen Victoria” an oar and sail powered lifeboat will join the ex-Hastings lifeboat “Fairlight” in a spectacular display of historic boats in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the RNLI in Hastings
The historic “Victoria” spent her working life at Bembridge on the Isle of White. Built in 1887 she was named in honour of Queen Victoria on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee.
The Queen had been asked to choose a place for a new boat to be stationed and she selected Bembridge. After sixteen years service she was sold in 1902 to one of the lifeboat crew, and renamed “The Ark” eventually becoming a houseboat in Bembridge Harbour. Abandoned and in a derelict condition, she was purchased in 1989 by Martin Woodward, the ex-Coxswain of the Bembridge Lifeboat.
After nine years of fund raising and almost a year of hard work the “Queen Victoria” emerged in 1998 looking absolutely superb, lovingly restored to her original condition and preserved in the Bembridge Maritime Museum.
RNLI lifeboats had already been operating for nearly thirty years in Hastings by the time the “Queen Victoria” was built. The boat in Hastings at that time was the first “Charles Arkcoll” which arrived in 1881, at a cost of £363, and looking exactly like the “Queen Victoria” does today. The “Charles Arkcoll” served at Hatings for twenty years between 1881 and 1901.
Commenting on the eagerly anticipated arrival of the “Queen Victoria”, the present Hastings Lifeboat Coxswain Martin Phillips said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have this unique piece of lifeboat history in Hastings for our 150th. The boat reminds us of the generations of volunteers who have put to sea to save the lives of others, and I hope the public will take the opportunity to come and see her.”


June 08
Souvenir prints still available from Hastings Boathouse

Last Few Special Commemorative Prints still available
There are still a limited number of Limited Edition prints specially made up to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Hastings Lifeboat.
The Prints were specially commissioned to commemorate the milestone of 150 years of saving lives at sea in Hastings, and show the current lifeboat with specifications listed beneath it. They can be signed by crew if required.
Hastings Lifeboat, the Sealink Endeavour, is a Mersey Class. This class of boat was introduced in 1988 and was the RNLI’s first ‘fast’ carriage lifeboat. It was designed to be launched from a carriage but can also lie afloat or be launched from a slipway. Propellers are protected by partial tunnels and substantial bilge keels. The last Mersey was built in 1993.
This is a real opportunity to own a treasured piece of lifeboat memorabilia at a cost of just £20.00.
Prints can be purchased from the Lifeboat Station Shop on the Stade in Hastings, or alternatively for postal orders (postage will be added to the cost) please telephone 01424 720828.


Oct 08
New Coxswain for Hastings Lifeboat

It’s all change at Hastings RNLI this week when Steve Warne takes over as full-time coxswain of the town’s lifeboat.
Martin Phillips, 35, stood down and handed over command of the boat after more than six years following promotion within the RNLI. Martin will now become a training assessor for the Institution’s Eastern Division. He along with three others will oversee the training of volunteer lifeboat men and women across 43 lifeboat stations, stretching from Hunstanton in Norfolk to Lymington in Hampshire. Martin’s looking forward to his new role within the RNLI: ‘I’ll miss being based full-time in Hastings, but this is a new challenge for me, with lots of different stations, boats and people.’ Martin will not disappear completely from Hastings however, he’ll still be involved with the lifeboat in a volunteer role, as a deputy second coxswain.
Martin’s departure means that Steve Warne, 40, will take over the helm as the new coxswain. Steve, who is married with two children, was born in Fernbank, Hastings. He will take over after eleven years as a volunteer on the town’s lifeboat, during which time he has trained as a helmsman on the inshore lifeboat, a mechanic on the all-weather boat, and served as a deputy coxswain.
Steve will now leave his job as a highways inspector for East Sussex Council to devote himself fully to lifeboat work, but has no regrets: “I’ve always enjoyed being on the crew of the lifeboat, and helping to save the lives of those in trouble at sea. I’ve now been given the chance to make a career out of something I’ve enjoyed doing for so long. I feel that I’m really fortunate
Although it’s a bit daunting, I’m really looking forward to the challenges of the new job.’


Oct 08
Go Karts help raise funds for the Lifeboat

Hastings RNLI Lifeboat is £300.00 better off thanks to the generosity of regulars at the Three Oaks pub in Three Oaks.
Members of the volunteer lifeboat crew at Hastings went to the pub to collect the cheque form landlord Nigel Robinson. The money was raised after the pub organised a Go-Kart grand prix.
Martin Phillips, RNLI Coxswain for Hastings’ RNLI Lifeboat, says: ‘It was a fantastic effort. All the crew and shore helpers at Hastings would like to thank the Three Oaks for their generosity in helping us to keep saving lives at sea.’


Nov 08
Choral Society sing their way to raise money for the RNLI

Battle Choral Society came down to the Boathouse on the Stade on Saturday 8th November to present new Coxswain Steve Warne with a cheque for £1000 that they had raised through various events. Steve said, ‘ It is fantastic that organisations as diverse as choral societies to pubs continue to think of the RNLI when choosing who to select as their charitable cause. We’d really like to thank the Battle Choral Society for their efforts in raising this money, which will all go to helping our volunteer crews save lives at sea.’


Dec 08
East Sussex Highways Dress Down for the RNLI