Bembridge Lifeboat Station
In 1867, the crew of the Norwegian Barque Egbert was rescued by the fishermen of Bembridge in an ordinary open boat. At the same time, the Nab Lightship had been removed to a greater distance from the shore. Bembridge needed a lifeboat.
In July 1867 the Committee of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution decided to base a lifeboat at Bembridge using £524 donated to the RNLI by the citizens of Worcester. The life-boat was named for its donors, the City of Worcester, was delivered in October of that year. In November she was called out for the first time, in rough weather, to assist the brig Bessie, of Sunderland, seen to anchor dangerously nearby. (She was guided safely into Bembridge Harbour, the RNLI later awarding £7 4s 0d to the lifeboat crew).
Since that day, in 1867, over 900 lives have been saved by generations of volunteer lifeboat crews at Bembridge.
Bembridge lifeboat station is classified as a key station by the RNLI and is strategically situated in the Solent, home to one of the busiest shipping lanes in our waters used by over 100,000 commercial ships per annum.
From the lifeboat station can be seen tankers and product carriers, container ships, car carriers, cruise liners, naval warships, trawlers, dredgers, coasters and ferries. The Solent is also used by thousands of pleasure craft: for instance, during the annual Round-the-Island Race, up to 2,000 sailing yachts of all types pass Bembridge in one day.
Calls for help include requests for medical evacuations (medevacs), problems with power loss, steerage, dismasting, flooding, man-overboard and many others.
In order to cope with so many diverse incidents, Bembridge has two lifeboats: a temporary Mersey class All-weather Lifeboat (ALB), to be replaced by the new Tamar, and a D-class inshore lifeboat (ILB), Dorothy Beatrice May Gorman
The ALB is launched in all weather conditions and provides cover in the East Solent and out into the English Channel - sometimes as far as Cherbourg. The D-class is used for work close to the shoreline, an area used by small boats, swimmers and surfers.
In 2008 the Bembridge lifeboats were launched 57 times, rescuing 69 people. Around 60% of all callouts take place in the dark.