Porthdinllaen Lifeboat

Gorsaf Bad Achub Porthdinllaen

Latest Shout

25th October 2014

At 13.00 today the Porthdinllaen boarding boat was launched to rescue a person who was blown out to sea in an inflatable dinghy. The person had tried to go out to his yacht in the bay, when his engine failed. Due to the strong wind and tidal conditions, he couldn't manage to row back to shore, and was swept out approx half a mile, to sea. The crew launched the boarding boat and recovered the person and dinghy in large swell, near the Porthdinllaen headland. By this time he had also lost the engine into the sea. The person in question was not wearing a life jacket either and could have easily capsized in such conditions.

History of Porthdinllaen Lifeboat

 

The 19th Century was the age of the sailing ship, both deep sea and in coastal waters. An isolated region like the Lleyn Peninsula on the west coast of Wales was very dependant on shipping before road and rail transport became viable alternatives. Porthdinllaen, on the northern coast of the peninsula, with it's sheltered east facing bay, became important as a harbour of refuge and a busy port. Shipping returns for the period indicate the number of vessels which entered the bay.

1804 - 655

1840 - 914

1861 - 700 plus

With this volume of traffic it was inevitable that many vessels came to grief with considerable loss of life.

In a severe northerly gale on December 2nd and 3rd 1863, about 18 ships that had been sheltering in Porthdinllaen bay, were driven ashore and wrecked. A Robert Rees of Morfa Nefyn, tied a rope around his waist and, with the help of 4 other men, succeeded in saving a total of 28 lives from the various vessels. For his gallantry on that occasion, Robert Rees was awarded the Bronze Medal from the Board of Trade and the Thanks on Vellum by the R.N.L.I.

A few days later, the Rev. Owen Lloyd Williams of Boduan, wrote to R.N.L.I. headquarters in London reporting on the results of recent gales and asked for a lifeboat station to be established at Porthdinllaen. The R.N.L.I.'s inspector of lifeboats, a Captain J.R.Ward, visited the area the following February and recommended the forming of this lifeboat station, which was formally approved at a meeting of the Institutions Committee of Management on March 3rd 1864.

Estimates were invited for the building of a boathouse, together with a long stone launch way. On April 7th 1864 an estimate of £140 was accepted for the building of a boathouse and it was decided to alter the former Palling Lifeboat and re-allocate her to Porthdinllaen. The lifeboat had been built in 1858 as a 30ft x 7'6'', 10 oared self-righter, but was altered and lengthened to a 36ftx8ft, 12 oared self-righter at a cost of £198. This lifeboat arrived at Porthdinllaen on August 26th 1864, having been conveyed free-of-charge between London and Caernarfon by the 'London & North Western railway Co.' and then sailed south to Porthdinllaen.

The boat was provided out of a donation of £250 to the Institution from Lady Cotton Sheppard, being the third lifeboat to be donated by that Lady and, at a ceremony on September 9th 1864 the boat was formally christened 'Cotton Sheppard'. The Rev.John Hughes was appointed Honorary Secretary of the new station and Hugh Hughes became the first Coxswain.

Porthdinllean Lifeboat Coxswains

1864 HUGH HUGHES
1875 JOHN HUGHES
1880 HUGH DAVIES
1894 JOHN JONES
1904 WATKIN PARRY
1906 OWEN EVANS
1928 JOHN EVANS
1931 OWEN JONES
1933 WILLIAM HUGHES
1939 GRIFFITHS JONES
1948 FRANK FOALE
1956 THOMAS MOORE
1973 GRIFFITH JONES (BEM)
1989 CAPT PETER JONES
2003 MICHAEL DAVIES



Click on the links below for more information...

Boathouse History       Boat records       Crew Honours


Thanks to Tom Morris and Jeff Morris (author of the History of the Porthdinllaen Lifeboats) for their help and permission to reproduce some of the above text.

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