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Buckie Lifeboat Station


In the 150 years since a lifeboat was first stationed at Buckie there have been five lifeboat stations. The first lifeboat station was erected on ground behind the present buildings on the south side of Commercial Road opposite the present fish market.  Due to expansion of the railways to the north of Scotland in the early 1860’s, the ground upon which the lifeboat station was located was purchased by The Great North of Scotland Railway Company and the building demolished to make way for coal sidings.  No evidence of this building remains today.

   
Lifeboat Station 1885 - 1922

Lifeboat Station 1885 - 1922

A new lifeboat station was erected at the west end of the harbour in 1885 at a cost of £447.  This lifeboat station was in use until 1922 when the first motor lifeboat replaced the previous row and sail boats. 

At this time, the lifeboat would have been launched into the west basin of the harbour which has since been infilled. Launching would have been a labour intensive operation with the lifeboat being transported on its carriage, with the crew already aboard, to the site of the launch. This would have been carried out by willing hands answering the maroons. The lifeboat station remains in existence to this day now in use as a store by a local building contractor.  Very little change has taken place to the external appearance of the building.  
 
 
Lifeboat Station 1922 - 1961 

Lifeboat Station 1922 - 1961

To accommodate Buckie’s first motor lifeboat, a new lifeboat station was erected adjacent to the timber pier that continues to mark the entrance to the harbour.  Due to the restriction of space available, the lifeboat was launched by means of a cradle arrangement which raised and lowered the lifeboat on a system of chains rather than by the conventional use of a slipway.   Although the lifeboat station was constructed of metal sheeting supported on a reinforced concrete frame, the cost of the building exceeded £15,000.   The lifeboat station remained in service until 1961 during which time considerable problems were experienced due to silting of the harbour close to the lifeboat station.  This often made recovery of the lifeboat impossible at low tide.  The building was demolished in the 1980’s as part of works to increase the width and depth of the harbour entrance and infill the west basin thus improving access to the harbour and providing ground for commercial development and storage for materials awaiting shipping.  
 
 
Lifeboat Station 1961 - 1993 

Lifeboat Station 1961 - 1993
The 47 foot Watson class lifeboat ‘Laura Moncor’ arrived on station at Buckie in June 1961.  Due to the size and tonnage of the lifeboat, new facilities were constructed at the east end of the harbour.  These new facilities comprised of a pontoon berth to serve as a boarding platform for the lifeboat with a gear store constructed on timber supporting piles adjacent to the quayside. The gear store provided only basic accommodation for crew. Benches lined the outside walls above which hung the crew’s all weather gear.  Sea boots were kept in low level lockers that doubled as seats.    A small area of the gear store was partitioned off to house a kettle and sink.  There were no toilets and heating was provided by a small portable heater.  Despite these basic facilities fond memories are retained by the crew of the ‘lifeboat shed’ as it was known locally.   There facilities were in use until 1993 when a ‘portakabin’ temporary facility was placed on pier 4 to serve as a store for gear and equipment in order to permit the demolition of the ‘shed’ to take place in advance of the construction of the present lifeboat station. Both the lifeboats ‘Laura Moncur’ and her Arun Class replacement ‘Charles Brown’ were serviced by these facilities.  
 
 
Lifeboat Station 1993 to present 

Lifeboat Station 1995 to present
Construction of the present lifeboat station was completed in spring 1995.  The new lifeboat station was officially opened by The Hon Mrs Henry Douglas-Home on the 26th August 1995.   The new lifeboat station provided crew, for the first time, with modern heated and comfortable accommodation where the crew could meet, exercise and receiving training from visiting specialists.    Computer links with the Scottish RNLI base in Perth and the National RNLI headquarters permit instant information exchange. Accommodation comprises crew training/ assembly room, office and toilet on the first floor, gear store and changing, mechanic’s workshop, storage room, shower and toilet provision on the ground floor.

The station is of unique construction comprising of traditional concrete block walls with facing exterior blocks, a sloping pitched slated roof all of which is supported on steel columns above the water.
The pontoon opposite provides safe boarding of the lifeboat at all states of the tide.  This pontoon is accessed from the gear store and changing area via the ramp thus allowing the crew direct access to the lifeboat The crew training and assembly room where much of 
the training is provided by visiting specialists.  
Gear storage and crew change room


 
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.

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