1972 a new lifeboat-house was completed at Redcar and an Oakley
type lifeboat, Sir James Knott, arrived on November
28th. An official opening ceremony was performed by the Marquis
of Zetland on Monday, May 28th, 1973, and the lifeboat was re-dedicated
by the Bishop of Whitby.
approximately 16.00 on October 4th, 1981, the lifeboat-house
attendant at Redcar observed a 15ft. speed boat being launched
into rough seas from the foot of the lifeboat slipway. The speed
boat headed straight towards West Scar, a reef of outlying rocks,
and at 16.10 was seen to be capsized by a large wave.
crew of the I.L.B. was assembled and at 16.17 the I.L.B. was
launched with helmsman Trevor Wilberforce and crewman
Dave Cocks on board. Several heavy seas were shipped
during launching and waves of up to fifteen feet in height were
breaking along the entire length of the outlying rocks. As a
considerable detour was necessary to avoid the danger, full
speed was maintained despite the very rough conditions.
the rocks the I.L.B, was frequently hidden from sight by large
waves. As the wind was nearing gale force and visibility was
poor it was decided to place the offshore lifeboat on stand
by, and a crew was assembled at 16.25. At about the same time
the two men from the speedboat were sighted briefly from the
I.L.B. as it rose on the crest of a wave. They were in the water
and clinging to an empty fuel drum. Both were wearing wetsuits
but not lifejackets.
was a non-swimmer and was in a state of exhaustion. Trevor
Wilberforce worked the I.L.B. through the breakers until
it was alongside, and Dave Cocks pulled the fittest survivor
on board. They clung to the exhausted man whilst the I.L.B.
was turned to meet the seas and avoid a possible capsize, and
then he too was hauled aboard.
men were in poor shape through hypothermia and exhaustion and
an ambulance was requested and was waiting to meet the I.L.B.
when it was beached at 17.00.