• Saving lives at sea for 147 years

  • Saving lives at sea for 147 years

  • Saving lives at sea for 147 years

  • Saving lives at sea for 147 years

  • Saving lives at sea for 147 years

2016 marks the centenary of the Lifeboat Disaster of October 1916 when the Salcombe Lifeboat capsized on the bar in near hurricane conditions and 13 lifeboatmen drowned.

About Us

Salcombe has had a Lifeboat Station for 147 years. The current Station is operated by a team of 34 local men and women, 24 sea going, and 10 shore- based. We have 2 full time professionals, Coxswain Chris Winzar and Mechanic Sam Viles, the remaining 32 are all volunteers. We have 2 boats, a 25 knot All Weather Lifeboat ‘The Baltic Exchange III’, and a 32 knot Inshore Boat ‘Joan Bate’. With these boats and this volunteer crew we are able to meet our mission which is to reach any casualty, in any weather, within 10 miles of the Station within 30 mins of first being called.

The RNLI is a registered charity and relies on voluntary contributions and legacies for its income. We receive no Government funding. In Salcombe we have a team of fundraisers ‘Friends of Salcombe Lifeboats’ .

What We Do

Save Lives at Sea, in all Weathers, 365 days 24/7.

Our aim is to reach any casualty in all weathers within 10 miles of Salcombe within 30 mins of receiving the initial request from the Coastguard. Response time in 2013, from receiving initial page request to being fully crewed and launched onto the water, ILB 6 mins, ALB 9 mins. Given that the crew have to leave their place of work, get to the Station, get changed into seagoing gear, prepare and launch the boat, these response times are very impressive, and allow us to meet and exceed the target to reach the casualty within 30 mins up to 10 miles offshore, in all weathers.

At Salcombe Lifeboat Station we have 2 x full time employees, the Coxswain Chris Winzar and a full time Mechanic Sam Viles. The strategic location of Salcombe, being the southern tip of Devon with some challenging headlands and waters, and proximity to busy Shipping Lanes, requires a Lifeboat Station permanently manned with 2 senior full time RNLI employees.

In addition, we have 23 volunteer crew. These are all employed outside the RNLI doing their day jobs but are available when required to man the boats. 18 of the current crew are employed in the Marine and Fishing industry locally, and 5 are non-marine including 2 Doctors , all are trained by RNLI to a high standard. Training takes place weekly in Salcombe, is structured and rigorous. In addition the crew attend the RNLI college at Poole for one week training sessions.

Christmas / NY : Between the 24 sea-going personnel there will always be a core of at least 10 available to man the boats, this means that they will voluntarily stay off the booze over the festive period in readiness to go to sea.

Purpose, Vision and Values


The RNLI saves lives at sea.


To end preventable loss of life at sea.


Our work is based on and driven the following values:

Selfless:Willing to put the requirements of others before our own and the needs of the team before the individual, able to see the bigger picture and act in the best interests of the RNLI, and to be inclusive and respectful of others.
Prepared:To share our expertise with organisations that share our aims.
Dependable:Always available, committed to doing our part in saving lives with professionalism and expertise, continuously developing and improving. Working in and for the community and delivering on our promises.
Trustworthy:Responsible, accountable and efficient in the use of the donations entrusted to us by our supporters, managing our affairs with transparency, integrity and impartiality.
Courageous:Prepared to achieve our aims in changing and challenging environments. We are innovative, adaptable and determined in our mission to save more lives at sea.