Over 200 years ago, 7th October 1802 marked a very important event in the history of maritime rescue. On that date, the Zetland lifeboat arrived at Redcar on the North East coast of England and began an illustrious service to the seafarers who risked their lives to ply their trade round the shores of Britain.

The Zetland lifeboat remains at Redcar and is the oldest surviving lifeboat in the world.

The lifeboatmen of Redcar who manned the Zetland saved over 500 lives and witnessed some of the greatest triumphs and tragedies ever to be experienced at sea. These pages are a tribute to the brave lifeboat crews of Redcar who, for 200 years, have risked their lives to save others.

The National Historic Ships Committee (NHSC) – part of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, is the body formed in 1992 to advise on UK historic ships that should be preserved. The NHSC recently reviewed several vessels for inclusion in its Core Collection. The Collection includes those vessels judged to be of 'pre-eminent national importance' and meriting higher priority for long-term preservation.

The Committee recognised that there were a few select vessels in the UK that warranted inclusion in the NHSC Core Collection but fell outside the original entry criteria. The vessels were either too small, built outside the UK or their hulls were not substantially intact. A new entry criterion – 'of extraordinary maritime importance' has been added and, as a result, the Committee has included the Zetland lifeboat in the Core Collection. Click here for more information.

Click here for details of Age of Sail Vol 2The story of the Zetland has been told in a fantastic new book "Age of Sail" Volume 2 by Chrysalis Books. Click here for more details.

Recounting just one of the many heroic rescues by the crew of the Zetland, the RNLI's "Storm Force" magazine for young readers has produced a pictorial account of the rescue of the crew of the sailing ship "Jane Erskine". Click here to read the account of the "Jane Erskine" rescue.
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In the early 1800's Redcar was merely a cluster of small cottages where the local fishermen and lifeboatmen lived. Click here for a map of Redcar in the 1800's.

Compare the old town of Redcar with the very latest map of the town. Click here for a map of Redcar in 2002.

In the 1860's a poem was written to commemorate the courage of the "Zetland" lifeboat crews. The poem was read by school children during the Service of Thanksgiving held on 6th October 2002 in Redcar. Click here to read the "The Zetland".

The Zetland lifeboat is the oldest surviving lifeboat in the world and to this day remains in perfect condition, on show in the Zetland Lifeboat Museum in Redcar. Click here for a 360 degree tour of the Zetland.