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Cowes lifeboat station receives Princess Royal

Lifeboats News Release

Anne, Princess Royal, included a visit to Cowes RNLI lifeboat station today (6 Aug) as part of her official two-day visit to the Isle of Wight.

Princess Royal and husband outside the boathouse.

RNLI/Nick Edwards

1. The Princess Royal chats with Operations Manager Mark Southwell outside the Boathouse, while Vice Admiral Laurence acknowledges on-lookers on the station balcony.

The princess’s visit coincided with the annual Cowes Week regatta, an event at which she was once, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, a regular participant.

She was accompanied on the visit by her husband, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, who is an RNLI Trustee and Chairman of the charity’s Operations Committee. The princess’s own present-day maritime links include being President of the Royal Yachting Association and Chairman of the Trinity House Board.

She spent some time at the Cowes lifeboat station, which five years ago became the only RNLI station to ever be opened by the Queen. The princess was greeted at the station by the Island’s Lord Lieutenant, Major General Martin White.

After meeting crew members and other station members outside the Boathouse, beside the Atlantic 85 RIB ‘Sheena Louise’, she was escorted by Operations Manager Mark Southwell to the first floor; there she chatted to crew member Laura Hodd and members of the station’s Visits Team and had an inter-active screen explained to her by Mark and Harry Leslie, a Deputy Launch Authority at the station and a communications advisor to the RNLI.

She also spoke to young members of the Face to Face team, brought in from the RNLI’s Poole headquarters to explain to Cowes Week visitors how the RNLI operates.

After she and her husband signed the visitors book they went to the balcony to watch the lifeboat being launched on its trolley.

The royal couple then went aboard an all-weather Shannon lifeboat, moored alongside the neighbouring Island Sailing Club pontoon, to continue their RNLI involvement by going up the River Medina to tour the East Cowes-based Inshore Lifeboat Centre.

Princess shakes the hand of crew member Chris Adams.

RNLI/George Chastney

2. Crew member Chris Adams receives a handshake from the Princess Royal
The inter active screen is explained.

RNLI/George Chastney

3. Mark Southwell, Harry Leslie and Laura Hodd with Princess Royal in front of the inter-active giant screen.
The visitors book if signed by both the princess and her husband.

RNLI/George Chastney

4. Vice Admiral Laurence follows the Princess Royal in signing the visitors book

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland