Final Launch Down Selsey’s RNLI Slipway
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The old RNLI station at Selsey has now been replaced by a new one on the beach.