RNLI Penlee Lifeboat Station has a remarkable history of bravery with the lifeboat crews being presented with 44 awards for gallantry during its 200 year history. The station has also witnessed tragedy with nine lifeboat crew losing their lives saving others at sea.
A lifeboat station was established in Penzance and has been saving lives since 1803 (the first in Cornwall and the thirteenth in the UK). There have been lifeboats stationed in Penzance, Newlyn or Penlee ever since (excluding 1828-1851 when the station lapsed). The Penzance RNLI branch was formed on 19th May 1824 - to coincide with the formation of the "National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck" formed in March 1824.
The Penzance Station remained operational (in several locations around Penzance) until 1917. In 1908 an additional lifeboat station was opened at Newlyn but this was only maintained until 1913 when it was closed. The closing of the Newlyn station saw the opening of the Penlee station in 1913 at Penlee Point. The Penzance RNLI Branch name was changed to the Penlee RNLI Branch, as it remains today. In 1983 The new Arun class lifeboat, the RNLB Mabel Alice, was placed on service on 8 May afloat in Newlyn Harbour. A new assembly building was built providing limited crew facilities. In 2003 the RNLB Ivan Ellen (Severn Class) took over from the RNLB Mabel Alice. Also in 2003 RNLB Paul Alexander (Atlantic 75) added to the compliment at Penlee. In 2016 the RNLB Paul Alexander was replaced with an Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat RNLB Mollie and Ivor Dent.