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One of five lifeboat stations on the Isle of Man, and home to the founder of the RNLI, Sir William Hillary.

Douglas was one of the earliest places in the British Isles to be provided with a lifeboat. One was sent there in 1802. It was one of the 31 boats built by Henry Greathead, builder of the first lifeboat stationed on the mouth of the Tyne in 1789. The Douglas boat was ordered by the Duke of Atholl.

There have been two stations at Douglas, the first was established in 1802 and closed in 1895. The second station established in 1874 is now the present one. The first station would appear to have lapsed about 1851 and was re-opened in 1868.

On 10 September 1824 the Institution received a request from Sir William Hillary, the founder of the Institution, for a lifeboat for Douglas “…on account of the frequent gales and wrecks in Douglas Bay”. The boat, built by Pellew Plenty of Newbury, Berkshire, was sent in October 1825. Two years later a larger boat was built by Cato of Liverpool, 29 feet long with 10 oars, and the two boats seem to have been working together.

During the years 1824 to 1851 it is reported that 91 lives were rescued by the Douglas lifeboat (not included in lives rescued figures). Sir William Hillary was awarded the Gold Medal as founder of the RNLI and won three other Gold Medals for gallantry. His son Augustus won the Silver Medal. One other Gold medal and 14 Silver medals were awarded. The crews have been presented with 21 awards for gallantry.


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution(RNLI) is the charity that saves lives at sea.

Funded by charitable donations, the lifeboat crews and lifeguards of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have saved at least 140000 lives at sea since 1824