Southport Lifeboat was reformed following accidents off the coast where local men lost their lives. After the accidents in 1987, bereaved relatives started a campaign to bring a lifeboat back to Southport. In December 1988 the first boat since 1925 came on station at Southport.
She was a 6 metre Carson rigid inflatable (RIB), originally powered by twin 40HP Mariner outboards, but refitted in 1995 with a single 85HP Suzuki and a 10HP auxiliary engine. She had self righting capability, integral fuel tanks and a top speed of around 30 knots. She was named the “Geoff Clements” after one of the young men who perished in the 1987 accidents. She remained on station until she became the reserve Lifeboat in May 1995 when the "Bessie Worthington" took over.
"Bessie Worthington" was a 6.6m RIB manufactured by Delta Power Services in Stockport for the Southport Lifeboat’s requirements, meeting all the necessary specifications including SOLAS (The international organisation for Safety of Life at Sea). The boat was originally powered by twin 90HP Suzuki outboard engines. These were changed to 90HP Mariners in 1998. The "Bessie Worthington" had full self righting capability activated by the crew after the unliikley event of capsize by pulling handles on the outside of the transom. Delta were responsible for supplying all the electrics and navigation systems (GPS Radio, echo sounder, EPIRB).
Fuel was stored in 4 x 20 Gallon under deck tanks, giving a duration at sea in the order of 7 hours. Fuel consumption, in a typical mix of getting to a casualty area and executing search patterns, is about 3.5 gallons per hour per engine.
During the years following the millennium we added two quad bikes & an ex RNLI D Class to our equipment. The bikes are invaluable for fast response and for searching large areas of beach quickly. The D class allows a good platform for crew training as well as for searching the shallow waters north of Southport Pier and providing invaluable backup to the main boat.
In early 2005 a campaign was launched to replace the "Bessie Worthington". An ambitious target of £125,000 was set to purchase a VTHalmatic Arctic 24. By September 2006 enough money had been raised to commission VTHalmatic to start building the boat. Unfortunately whilst the remainder of the funds were being raised the price had gone up and by the time delivery was made the boat had cost around £140,000. The Heather White came into service in May 2007.
In June 2008 the two quad bikes were replaced with new Honda 475cc. At the same time we added mud rescue equipment to our armoury.
September 2011 saw the quad bikes replaced again after three years of service.