Fi­nal Launch Down Selsey’s RNLI Slip­way

This England - - News - JOHN BLAKE

At the start of April, thou­sands of peo­ple gath­ered on the beach in the Sus­sex re­sort of Selsey to see the last launch of the town’s lifeboat down the slip­way into the English Chan­nel.

The boathouse was built in 1958 at a cost of £75,000. The 120-yard gang­way was built us­ing steel and tim­ber deck­ing. The slip­way was man­u­fac­tured from steel and set on con­crete piers. Op­er­a­tional since April 1960 the RNLI lifeboat sta­tion was opened by the Duke of Rich­mond and Gor­don from Good­wood House.

Dur­ing the 57 years of use there have been three dif­fer­ent classes of lifeboat sta­tioned in Selsey — the last one, a Tyne Class, was op­er­a­tional from 2006 un­til April this year.

The Selsey lifeboat has been launched 972 times in its life­time and has as­sisted 850 peo­ple.

On sev­eral oc­ca­sions the lifeboat slip­way has been used for other pur­poses in­clud­ing as a film­ing lo­ca­tion for ad­ver­tise­ments. Timex Watches and, ap­pro­pri­ately enough, Fish­er­man’s Friend lozenges have filmed com­mer­cials here. La­coste cloth­ing also made films ad­ver­tis­ing their range of clothes in the 1980s and ’90s.

More re­cently, the Bird­man Rally was staged here be­fore re­lo­cat­ing to Bog­nor Regis.

Selsey lifeboat crews are based on a vol­un­teer ba­sis and have, like other RNLI crews around the coun­try, been sav­ing lives at sea since 1861. The crew in Selsey have been awarded 10 gal­lantry medals in that time.

There is now a new build­ing on the beach in Selsey which will house the new Shan­non Class lifeboat. A con­cept that harks back to the orig­i­nal days when lifeboats were launched from the beaches around Eng­land, this new class of lifeboat will boast a state-of-the art launch and re­cov­ery sys­tem straight from the shore­line.

The old RNLI sta­tion at Selsey has now been re­placed by a new one on the beach.

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