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The Crossley was not a popular boat, and there were complaints that there was less room than in the Zetland because of the air boxes that provided the self-righting ability. A larger self-righter, Burton-on-Trent, was provided, but was considered too heavy to be transported with ease across soft sand, and less manageable at sea than the Zetland.

So great was the controversy that in 1876 the RNLI considered withdrawing the lifeboat and closing the station. Before such drastic action was taken a solution was offered by a charitable society, The United Order of Free Gardeners. They provided a lifeboat called the Emma, built on similar lines to the Zetland and operated and maintained it independently of the RNLI.

A terrific storm blew from the ENE on October 28th, 1880, causing havoc on land and sea. Around 6.00 a.m. the Whitby brig Emmanual Boutcher was blown ashore to the east of Redcar. The rocket brigade were quickly on the scene and five rockets were fired. One of the rocket lines lodged in the rigging, but the four man crew of the brig were unable to reach it because of heavy seas washing over the deck. They were rescued by the RNLI lifeboat, Burton-on-Trent.

Later in the morning the schooner, Luna was also driven ashore. Her crew of four were saved by the Emma lifeboat, but the lifeboat carriage became bogged down as the boat was being launched and was not recovered until the following day.

Shortly before dusk the Stockton steamship Tees was deliberately run aground to avoid foundering. Her crew of twenty were rescued by the rocket brigade.

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The Emma