Our Station


1988 – Cowes Rescue formed as an independent rescue service after a horrific crash between a hydrofoil and a fishing boat.
2007 – With increasing costs due to changes in legislation, it was no longer affordable to run an independent rescue service in Cowes. An approach was made to the RNLI…
2008 – Cowes Inshore Lifeboat ceases operations and Cowes RNLI Lifeboat Station comes into being. New kit arrives, including drysuits, pagers, lifejackets and a new lifeboat – the Atlantic 85 Lifeboat, B-810 ‘Tabbycat’ is placed on service.
2009 – The RNLI purchases the Old Customs House in Cowes, and begins fundraising to transform it into a lifeboat station. A £1m pound fundraising campaign is launched by actress Celia Imrie.
2012 – Following an extensive refit, Cowes RNLI moves to the ‘new’ station on the Parade in Cowes. The building is officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in July, the only RNLI station she has opened.  A brand new lifeboat is placed on service, the Atlantic 85 Sheena Louise (B-859).
Over the following years, there were significant milestones for Cowes Lifeboat. 
2015, January – Cowes Lifeboat is one of four RNLI lifeboats involved in the rescue of 25 sailors from the car carrier ‘Hoegh Osaka’ after she listed and ran aground on the Bramble Bank.
Jan 2015 – Hoegh Osaka
Jan 2015 – tug
June 2015 RYS bicentenary


Customs image
The new Cowes Lifeboat Station is in one of the port’s most historic maritime settings. This lifeboat station began life as a Watch House for HM Customs Service in the very late 1600s. For centuries, small boats were housed here, ready to launch into the harbour to board and search suspicious vessels arriving in the port. In the 1980s, the boathouse was converted into an office space.