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29 October 2014
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Title - Extra Norfolk

The heroic crew who "never turn back"
Night launch
Pictures by MARK DODD

CHRIS BOND tells the extraordinary history of the proud Caister lifeboatmen.

A proud history and a long tradition of saving lives exists among lifeboat communities across the length and breadth of the country.

But for one volunteer crew, the spirit of dogged determination has grown beyond the simple desire to save lives – to a need, literally, to keep their own boat afloat. Caister Volunteer Rescue Service in Norfolk was Britain’s first privately-run lifeboat station and operates the country’s only offshore lifeboat, independent of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Sandbanks off the coast of Norfolk at Caister are among the most dangerous waters around Britain. The treacherous network of channels and banks has claimed the lives of thousands of mariners, fishermen and lifeboatmen.

The long history of life-saving, now an integral part of the village, began in the late 18th century, when a company of beachmen was set up to operate a salvage and rescue business. By 1845, the Norfolk Shipwrecked Mariners’ Association had placed a lifeboat in Caister, and beach company members were asked to crew it. Then, in 1856, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution took over the running of what was, by then, a fully-fledged lifeboat station.


Internet links:
Caister Lifeboat 1
Caister Lifeboat 2

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