Home  :  Contact  :  Crew Login
RNLI Lifeboats
25yrs Ago - Arun Class Lifeboat, 'Charles Brown’
Buckie was now served by the Arun class lifeboat ‘Charles Brown’. This lifeboat replaced the former Watson class lifeboat ‘Laura Moncur’ two years previously.

  This photograph shows Charles Brown with the identification numbering clearly shown on the side of the superstructure.  In the 1990’s a corporate design change resulted in the identification numbering being displayed on the hull thus allowing the corporate logo to be displayed to better effect on the superstructure.
The first set of numbers relate to the length of the lifeboat in feet thus depicting the class of lifeboat involved.  The latter two numbers relate to the build number which in this case identifies the lifeboat as the 27th built of the class involved.

The technical specifications for the Arun class lifeboat as copied from the naming ceremony programme are stated as follows:

“The 52 foot Arun Class Lifeboat is a glass reinforced plastics (GRP) offshore lifeboat the hull and deck being moulded by Halmatic Ltd, Havant, the superstructure aluminum alloy made by Wm. Osborne, Littlehampton and where the boat was also fitted out.  Like its predecessors, it incorporates many features of design not found on conventional lifeboats.  The flare of the bow helps to protect the deck and wheelhouse from spray and gives ample working space on the foredeck.  The reverse sheer of the latter gives a clear view over the stem when, at speed, the bow rises.  The imposing superstructure not only houses all controls, instruments and crew seating but provides the buoyancy to initiate self righting should the boat capsize.

Until the successful introduction into the RNLI fleet in the 1960’s of the 44 foot Waveney lifeboat, the maximum speed of lifeboats was 8–9 knots (although a special 17 knot boat was placed in Dover during the 1930’s).  Once it was shown that the qualities of speed and stability were compatible in modern lifeboat design, it was decided to commission Mr A McLachlan of Messers G.L. Watson of Glasgow to design a larger and faster lifeboat.  The Arun class resulted, named after the river at Littlehampton where they were first built, at Wm. Osborne Ltd.

The hull is divided into 26 watertight compartments, some filled with expanded polyurethane foam and the remainder packed with 50 mm polypuspylene spheres giving reverse buoyancy if the boat is holed. Below deck space includes accommodation and facilities for survivors. An inshore lifeboat and inflatable life raft are carried on deck. Electronic equipment includes radar, Decca Navigator, VHF and MF radio, recording and indicator echo-sounders, a six way intercom, and an automatic MF D/F receiver.

The first three Aruns, 52-01, 52-02 and 54-03, were constructed of cold moulded timber, the third was 2 feet longer through having a rounded transom. Another change was the forward location of the flying bridge on which are duplicated the main controls to improve the coxswain’s all round visibility. The design of 54-03 was used to produce its successors in glass reinforced plastic”.

Length 52ft 0in (15.85 m)
Breadth 17ft (5.2m)
Displacement 31 tons 
Load draft aft 5ft (1.5m)
Load draft forward 3ft 10in (1.1m) 
Engines Twin 485hp Caterpillar Diesels
Maximum speed 18.5 knots 
Fuel capacity 600 imperial gallons 
Range at full speed 230 nautical miles 
Crew 6

Station and Branch Officials
Coxswain/ Mechanic - William McDonald.
Other members of crew were:
J C Murray (Jake) 2nd Coxswain*
R Erskine
G Wood
K Farquhar
Dr G MacKay
G Stewart
C Wild
I Sinclair
P Latchem
S Mathieson
C Macrae
A Paterson

* Jake Murray later served as coxswain of the Buckie lifeboats 1987 – 2006

Operational and Branch Officials

David J Scott - Branch Chairman
John K Fowlie – Station Honorary Secretary
William G Taylor – Administrator and Honorary Treasurer
Dr George MacKay – Honorary Medical Advisor

Buckie Ladies Lifeboat Guild

Honorary Secretary – Mrs J Philip
Honorary Treasurer – Mrs I Davidson

  This photograph shows ‘Charles Brown’ moored at the boarding pontoon.

At the rear of the photograph is the gear store which served as the crew facility from 1961 being removed in 1992 to make way for the construction of the present boathouse.

Services undertaken 1986

30th January – stood by and provided an escort to fishing vessel.
18th March – provided assistance to navel survey motor boat.
15th May – attended ill person on fishing vessel.
24 June – removed crew of fishing vessel and provided tow to fishing vessel.
30 August – crippled yacht towed to safety of harbour.
4th November – provided tow to fishing vessel.


A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland I RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 01073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240 and RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 are all companies registered at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ.

Images & copyright © RNLI 2018.

Copyright Buckie Lifeboat Station | website designed by hedley enterprises