Coxswain's Blog from Penlee Lifeboat Station


Welcome to my Blog

I intend to update it regularly, so come back soon to see if I've updated it! 

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  August 2016 - Mixed news from the station so far this year 

Find out what's been happening in the first few months of 2016


  Summary of 2015 - a look back at the year by Patch 

Have a look at what we've been up to at the station during the past year


  June 2013 - It's been a busy six months

Coxswain Patch tells you what's been going on so far in 2013




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August 2016 - Mixed news from the station so far this year 


It’s been a very busy time here at Penlee. Please accept my apologies for the delay in writing this Blog.

This year started early with a really busy January with nearly 3 times the shouts we normally get. Our first being to search for a vulnerable person in the water off the Promenade, giving us chance to use our new thermal imaging camera, which is a great piece of equipment. The person was found and treated in an awaiting ambulance.

Since then it’s been busy, as of the end of August we were already 8 shouts higher than the same time last year, if this continues we will have our busiest year since 2010.

Our appeal is going well, there are still a lot of donations coming in and we are hoping to break ground on our new station very soon, subject to planning.

We have a new inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat, the RNLB Mollie and Ivor Dent, and crew training has gone really well with all of our ILB trained volunteers having some familiarisation time with the new lifeboat. We sadly said goodbye to the Paul Alexander, but were very touched to have Mr and Mrs Archer with us in Mousehole to help us bless all 3 lifeboats in our annual open air service. The Paul Alexander will move on from Penlee and into the RNLI reserve fleet of inshore lifeboats, we will endeavour to keep tabs on her and bring you any news as we get it.

The Ivan Ellen went away for her 7 yearly refit, coming back like a new boat, overhauled engines and slick new paint job, giving her an extra knot or two top speed!

As usual there have been endless fundraising events for our station throughout the summer, including the RNLI v Fire Brigade Rugby match was another resounding success both in terms of fundraising and the support. This year we let the Fire fighters win!! Our annual rescue day on Newlyn Green was well attended despite the weather being unsettled, Mousehole Crew day was as usual the highlight of our events and it all ended in the evening with our annual open air blessing service where we had the unique blessing of all 3 lifeboats in the harbour, welcoming the Mollie and Ivor Dent on to station. Porthleven lifeboat day was an extremely well supported event and again we were lucky with the weather to allow a demonstration with Coastguard 924 SAR helicopter to the delight of the supporters and crew!


Coming up soon will be our second RNLI organized a sponsored swim from Marazion beach around St Michael's Mount and back. Both Penlee Lifeboats will attend along with the Penwith lifeguards, I look forward to seeing you all there! A big thank you goes to the team of volunteers who turn out in all weathers to support our events and keep the station funded.

The Station’s Press Officer, Elaine Trethowan and Visits Officer, Martin Brockman have been very busy, not only with their own roles within the station, but attending and helping to organise heritage events elsewhere, such as the ‘Spirit of Mount’s bay’ in St.Mary’s church where a replica of the Ivan Ellen was constructed out of flowers.

We have received tremendous support from local groups and businesses, too many to mention, but a special thanks needs to go to St.Aubyn’s estates. This year they held a lifeboat day on St.Michael’s mount, the first for many years since the closure of the Marazion station and we were delighted to be invited to attend. We were helped out on the day by the Penzance Sea Cadets from TS Grenville, they are true supporters of Penlee and help out on numerous occasions throughout the year.

We have 4 new crew joining so far this year.  Jason Ward, Elliot Andrews, Tom Ritchie and Thomas Pascoe.

Jason Ward - originally a plumber from Deal in Kent moved to Penzance last year with his wife and children, Jason who joined the crew in March this year is now the Pastor at the hope Church in Alverton. Jason also an ex rugby player has set up Hope ships in Newlyn.

Elliot Andrews - a digger driver was a crewman at Sennen Cove for 8 years but moved to Newlyn and joined Penlee Lifeboat in May this year, Elliot has settled in really well in a short time, he attends most exercises and has turned up to nearly every shout since joining.

Tom Ritchie - from Scotland who is a mechanic on the Oil Rigs in the North Sea recently moved to Penzance with his girlfriend, Tom joined Penlee in March this year.

Thomas Pascoe - only 19 is our latest crew to Join Penlee, Thomas is a fisherman and works aboard his uncles boat the Serene Dawn from Newlyn.

One of our longest serving volunteer crew members, David Pascoe, was awarded his 20 year service badge by Tom Mansell (RNLl Divisional Operations Manager). David, joined the Penlee Lifeboat in 1996 and progressed to Deputy 2nd Coxswain and Inshore Lifeboat Helm in 2001. He is now my 2nd Coxswain on the all-weather lifeboat 'Ivan Ellen', and a Senior Helm of our Inshore Lifeboat. Congratulations and well done Dave!

There has been an air of sadness with the recent coastal drownings, the Respect the Water message just isn’t getting through to some people, please share it, I’m here with my volunteers when things go wrong, but we need to educate people about the dangers of the water.

I’m sure you’ve heard the devastating news that Gold medal presented posthumously to Cox Trevelyan Richards following the disaster has been taken from the safekeeping of the archive team at Poole. This is a major tragedy to our extended family here at Penlee, the medal holds great significance to the events of the time and symbolises what we volunteer for every time the pagers go off. It is hoped that the person responsible for taking it will return it to us, it belongs with us not hidden away never to be seen again.


I’m not finishing on a sad note, this week we’ve had confirmation from RNLI estates that they are expecting to submit our plans for approval later this month for our new station.

That’s it from me for now, I’ll write a final yearly update in December, with hopefully some good news.

Thank you all once again for your continued support,   


Coxswain RNLI Penlee




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Summary of 2015 - A very busy year for the team at Penlee

click image above for video

click image above for video




I’m so sorry that it’s taken me such a long time to update my blog but it’s been another busy year at Penlee.  Whilst I’m more than happy to take the helm of the ‘Ivan Ellen’ lifeboat, I am not so good at tapping away on a computer! Please accept my apologies.

I am writing this 2015 update from my office at Penlee Lifeboat Station, looking out over Newlyn Harbour at the Ivan Ellen and Paul Alexander lifeboats who both lay peacefully on their moorings ready for our next service. I consider myself extremely lucky to work and live in such a beautiful part of the country, with such a dedicated and loyal team of volunteers around me – long may it continue! 

So, what have we been up to this year?

January 27th saw the launch of our fundraising appeal to build a new lifeboat station at Penlee, by England and Exeter Chiefs rugby player, Jack Nowell. 

Our current station was built in 1983, but unfortunately, now 32 years on, the station is no longer fit for purpose. With around 25 volunteer crew, and additional shore crew as well as fundraisers using the building, there is an urgent need for more space. It can get quite claustrophobic, and at the moment everyone at the station is competing to use the single crew room for everything from training and meetings to having an important debrief after a rescue. Our new station will provide that much needed space and we are all extremely excited that the dream of a new building is now becoming a reality. 

The Penlee appeal fund has now reached over £107,000 - fingers crossed the building works are expected to begin next year, and subject to planning permission, will take about six months to complete. We will keep you posted on progress via our website and social media pages. Facebook or Twitter

There are so many people to mention for the staggering amount of money that has already been raised towards our appeal. Joe Holtaway and his family & friends who raised over £3,000 at the ‘Big Thank You’ band night in May are just one of many. You will all remember Joe as the paddle-boarder we rescued from near death in November 2014.
Click here for the local TV news report of Joe's rescue

I would just like to say a big thank you to every single one of you who have contributed to our fundraising pot. The support we have received, not only locally, but countrywide and from the four corners of the earth has been astounding and extremely humbling

For those of you who follow our Facebook page you will remember the Jewson Building Better Communities ‘Vote for Penlee’ campaign that took place in May & June this year. It was a tense few weeks with the lead project changing on a daily basis! In the end all your votes helped us to secure the top prize of £50,000 that was collected by our volunteer Press Officer, Elaine Trethowan, and volunteer crewmember, Marcel Le Bretton on the 8th July. We continue to work with the Jewson team who are giving us invaluable support and advice with our new build. You may like to view the following video which was filmed on 4th November and gives details of the proposed plans for the new station. click here to view  

There have been endless fundraising events for the our fundraising appeal throughout this year, including the St Ives RNLI Cycle Sportive event. Four cyclists from Penlee Lifeboat Station took part this year - Mechanic Tony Rendle, Inshore Lifeboat Helmsman Ben Keogh, Crewman Paul Boulton and myself. Sixty cyclists registered for the event but on the morning due to the torrential rain only 36 riders took part.  The 50 mile route was hard graft in the strong wind and heavy rain but it was still a nice ride. Together we raised £3,100 - a fantastic amount! 

The RNLI v Fire Brigade Rugby match was another resounding success both in terms of fundraising and the result. £2,150 was collected and the RNLI won again!! It was another very close game,  the standard of rugby was impressive with both sides very committed and played in good spirits.  Even though I said after last years match I wasn’t going to play this year I couldn’t help myself and I played for a full 60 minutes. Adrian Bick, my old Pirates team mate, couldn’t resist either. During the 2nd half we were joined by Penlee crewmembers, Paul Boulton and Marcel Le Breton. Once again the support was fantastic - after the match the Pirates club house was full to bursting point and a good night was had by all!

This year for the first time the RNLI organized a sponsored swim from Marazion beach around St Michael's Mount and back. Both Penlee Lifeboats attended to provide safety cover with Penlee’s Lifeboat Medical Advisor, Dr Boulter, onboard the Ivan Ellen. RNLI lifeguards also attended the swim using their paddle boards, jetski and surf boat in case any swimmer needed assistance. 60 swimmers took part and raised over £6,000. Again a fantastic result - we are hoping this will now become an annual event in our fundraising calendar.

Both of our Lifeboats have had another busy year and between them have launched many times on service, saving lives and assisting people. The most noticeable "shouts" this year have been:

In May - a 9 hour service to the beam trawler, Kerrie Marie, which had suffered engine failure 35 miles south of Newlyn.

In July - The 'Paul Alexander' was at sea within 4 minutes to the aid of two kayakers off Penlee Point. Falmouth Coastguard had received a 999 call from a member of public who was concerned for their safety.

And finally in December - On the anniversary of the disaster a very bumpy service to assist the tug 'MTS Viscount'  and the 7,800 ton container ship 'Samskip Express' which had suffered engine failure and was dragging her anchor in a strong Southerly gale - Force 8 just two miles off Porthleven.

The 'Ivan Ellen' has been the busier boat this year, launching on several occasions to assist fishing/angling vessels, yachts and other leisure craft. We also took part in a number of searches for vulnerable missing persons and small leisure craft.

Amazingly both lifeboats have launched an incredible 165 times this year, this includes services, exercises, Public Relations, events and displays.

The Station welcomed Martin Brockman as our 'Lifeboat Visits Officer'. Martin visits schools and other community groups and gives talks on staying safe and our station history. Martin has visited over 20 schools, given over 25 talks and we have welcomed 18 Schools and many other groups to the station. These include the Brownies, Sea Scouts/Cadets, appeal supporters and visitors from other lifeboat stations. 

In June we were pleased to welcome 3 crew members who are based at the Moelfre RNLI lifeboat station on Anglesey.

In September 6 members of the Estonian Voluntary Maritime Rescue Unit of Toila, and Jack Lowe from The Lifeboat Station Project. Click here for Jack's Tribute to Penlee

In November, whilst on passage to Poole, Coxswain Kevin Kirkpatrick and members of the volunteer crew of the RNLI Longhope Lifeboat 'Helen Corrie' visited the old Lifeboat Station at Penlee Point, Mousehole, to lay flowers and pay their respects to the crew of the Solomon Browne lifeboat. 

Once again I would like to thank my volunteer crew for their continued hard work, dedication and loyalty. It has been a very busy year but brilliant as well, the crew have been fantastic and once again nothing is ever to much trouble. Not only do they commit to saving lives at sea but also take part and help with fundraising and they are a credit to the community and the RNLI.

Penlee currently has 24 crew on the books with 3 new crew joining this year.  Chris Yacoubian, Andrew Stevens and Neville Pittman.

Chris a TV film camera man who has been all over the world filming programs such as Gold Rush, The Voice, Strictly Come Dancing and countless others. Chris lives in Mousehole.

Andrew is an experienced fisherman originally from St Ives, but we can't hold that against him. Andrew is also an ex Lifeboat man and lives in Penzance.

Neville an ex fisherman and skipper. He runs a Shellfish business locally and lives in Newlyn.

Porthleven Lifeboat Day 2015 – This year marked the 40th Lifeboat Day at Porthleven. It is a very important date in the Penlee diary and this year was no exception. Steaming into Porthleven on the flying bridge of the ‘Ivan Ellen’ I was amazed to see how many people were lining the harbour walls, cheering, clapping and welcoming us into port. All the crew love Porthleven Lifeboat Day and are always happy to make the trip across the bay on the Ivan Ellen & Paul Alexander lifeboats. 

Sadly, due to the poor weather conditions, our colleagues from 771 Naval Air Squadron were not able to join us for the planned rescue demonstration. Hopefully our casualty rescue demonstration in the outer harbour was some compensation for those who had waited patiently to see us.

I would like to say a big thank you to Porthleven & District RNLI, to everyone who supported the event, to the businesses in Porthleven and beyond who provided raffle & auction prizes, to all the other lifeboat branches who attended and collected on the day, and to all the amazing RNLI volunteers who gave up their time & energy to make Porthleven Lifeboat Day such a huge success – in their 20th anniversary year they have raised a staggering £10,700 towards our new station appeal!

We all look forward to doing it all again next year on Sunday 14th August – hope to see you all there!



As we steam towards Christmas and the December days disappear in our wake, the crew and I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas & New Year. See you all in 2016.



Coxswain RNLI Penlee



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June 2013 - It's been a busy six months


The first half of 2013 has flown by, the Lifeboats have been fairly active with 32 callouts so far this year, we have had experienced long quiet spells then the boats get called out several times in a few days, it seems as though our flank stations ( Lizard and Sennen Cove) are seeing the same sort of patterns, crew training continues throughout the year and has been going well with 25 crew on the books.
Talking about time flying by, i received my 20 year service badge in January, can't believe the time has gone so quick, Tom Mansell presented it to me during our coast review, Dave Osborne will also have served  20 years in August ! well done Dave. Congratulations to Mike ( Doc) Hersant who received a gold bar to his gold medal for his continued services to the Penlee Lifeboat and branch, also the whole station was chuffed to bits when we heard that Janet Madron received a B,E,M from the Queen in January.
The crew raised £1800 this year on S O S day by car washing and a bbq at the station and we had a great day at the Pirates Rugby ground in May when the RNLI took on the PZ fire station in a charity rugby match, £1700 was raised on the day, it really was a cracking day with crew members from local Lifeboat Stations and Lifeguards playing together for the RNLI, obviously it got a bit messy in the evening !!! but it was great to see so many people supporting the game and enjoying a few beers in the club after.
Penlee Lifeboat Search and Rescue day on the prom was a huge success this year, the weather was spot on with a easterly slop making the demo with rescue 193 spectacular, lots of people turned up £1400 was raised.
This year Janets sonsored walk started from Perranuthnoe, around 20 people took part, crew members, Sam,Ollie and myself walked with Morgan and Mackenzie, finishing at the boathouse around £1500 was raised which is fantastic.
Sadly Roy Pascoe our DLA had to retire due to his age ,  but now he has a new appointmant !!  he is the Boathouse Manager which is great news, Paul Gillchrest who served on the Solomon Browne and is Sams dad has taken on the DLA role.
Thats all the news at the minute,