The Lifeboat Tradition

Ilfracombe’s 170-year-old history of saving life at sea would not be possible without the support of our community, its individuals and organisations, and the continuing generosity of all those who freely give their time and goodwill.

lt is difficult to measure the significance of the lifeboats at Ilfracombe, but perhaps it is best put by Kirk Goodman, who, along with his brother Ray, was pulled to safety from the stormy winter seas in January, 1996. Kirk remembers, "When l saw the boat, l knew we were safe. l knew we were going to live."

But lifeboat crews also remember long hours of frustrating searching; the growing realisation that the best of efforts have been in vain; the grim sense of loss. lf a search is scaled down, the lifeboat is always quiet on the passage home. However, as developments in rescue techniques and technology forge ahead into the twenty-first century, and lifeboats venture ever farther from our shores, more lives will be saved. Every time there is a launch, the lifeboat and its crew will put to sea with hope and determination, whatever the odds. It is in this spirit that the service goes on.