Hoylake Lifeboat Coxwain David Whiteley
THE history of the lifeboat service in Hoylake began 210 years ago in December 1802, some 22 years before the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was established.
The Trustees of the Liverpool Docks bought a lifeboat from Henry Greathead of South Shields and placed it at Hoylake. She was about 30ft long, 10ft wide and had 10 oars for rowing.
The boat was placed on service on the beach at Hoylake, at the bottom of Alderley Road near the lower lighthouse, with only a wooden boathouse to protect her. She was kept on a carriage similar to today’s launching carriage for transportation to the sea, but pulled by horses instead of a tractor.
Early on the morning of August 13, 1810, Captain Joseph Bennett (Coxswain) spotted a vessel running before a storm, just outside the North West Buoy.
A severe gale was churning up heavy and confused seas and Captain Bennett kept the vessel under observation until 7.30am, when she suddenly disappeared from view and he feared she had gone down. But at 8.30am he spotted her again.
She had lost both masts and was in great distress so the lifeboat was launched and reached the casualty at 10.30. With great skill, it was taken alongside the stricken vessel and the crew was rescued.