Dart RNLI launches £1.2m fundraising appeal

Dart lifeboat crew outside the current temporary station Credit: RNLI

Dart RNLI, one of the busiest lifeboat stations in Devon, has put out its own call for help with the launch of a new fundraising appeal.

Currently operating from a temporary lifeboat station which is nearing the end of its lease, the volunteer crew is now asking for help to fund the £1.2m cost of creating a new lifesaving home.

Earlier this year, using a bequest from one of Dart RNLI’s supporters, the RNLI purchased Ferry View in Dartmouth with a view to transforming it into a new, purpose-built lifeboat station with all the facilities required by a 24/7 search and rescue service. The building was the original home to the first Dartmouth lifeboat, Maud Hargreaves, from 1878 until 1896, so the new station will not only provide the crew with a modern base, but also represent a homecoming for the RNLI and the whole community.

Dart RNLI B and D class lifeboats
Dart RNLI B and D class lifeboats. Photo courtesy of Stuart Millard

“It really will be like coming home,” says Bob Gilbert, chair of Dart RNLI’s fundraising committee. “Ferry View is the place where the story of lifesaving in Dartmouth began, so it will be wonderful to bring the lifeboat home to a transformed station building.”

The new station will also make launching far easier and safer. Currently, the Dart crew launch their D-class lifeboat from their temporary station building by driving it a quarter of a mile across an often muddy park and two main roads. The new station is located directly opposite a slipway, shaving precious minutes off launch times.

Artist's impression of the new station house
Artist’s impression of the new station house

“Launching like this can be a real challenge,” says volunteer helm Rich Eggleton. “The new location will help us to reduce the time it takes to get the boat in the water, as well as giving us far better facilities for the crew.

“We’re really looking forward to having a permanent home, with everything in the right place. We’ve never really had that. It will give everyone a sense of security that we’re here to stay and can carry on saving lives.”

Planning has now been approved to transform Ferry View into a home for Dart RNLI for many years to come. But the costs of the transformation are expected to be around £1.2m, so the station is preparing for a mammoth fundraising task.

The current building at Ferry View  Credit: RNLI
The current building at Ferry View. Photo courtesy of RNLI

To support Dart RNLI, visit the appeal website for more information, or the fundraising page to donate.

Read more about the RNLI’s latest rescues in our archives.

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