Type: R.N.L.I. Lifeboat
Beam: 12ft 9ins
Draft: 3ft 6ins
Displacement: 9.84 tons
Engine: 2 x Ferry 40hp Diesels
Builder: J S White, Cowes IoW
One of only three RNLI lifeboats designed to be launched from the beach, she had just come into service at Great Yarmouth & Gorleston when Louise Stephens found herself off to Dunkirk on 30th May 1940.
During her career with the RNLI she was launched 311 times and saved 177 lives at sea. Sold out of service in 1974, she became for a while a fishing boat off the North-east coast of England. In 1984 she was re-engined with two 4-cylinder 72hp tractor engines and a large trawler wheelhouse was added.
Howard Fawsitt bought the lifeboat, by then named Tyne Star, in 1986 when she had come down to Poole to be sold and he kept her at Starcross in South Devon. She was a family pleasure boat, cruising the coastal waters of south-west England and the Isle of Wight.
In early 2013 a Preservation Group was formed to acquire and fully restore the Louise Stephens. Her last passage, prior to the restoration, began on 10th April when she was brought under her own power from Portnahaven, Islay, to Ardrossan on the Scottish mainland. At Clyde Marina, she was taken out of the water and transported to Lowestoft. Now that she is home safe the task of evaluation and the planning for both the future work and the future use can begin.
Louise Stephens is listed on the core collection of the National Historic Ships register.
Updated April 2013
Fri, 22/02/2013 - peterjohnson200...
As of Feb 2013, the boat (now Louise) is ashore at a boatyard in Portahaven, Islay, and has had the hull and decks stripped to bare wood, expoxied and painted. She is due to be relaunched in early April 2013. A charitable Company (Group) has been formed to buy her and restore her externally to how she was when in service at Gorleston. Interested parties can contact the Group on firstname.lastname@example.org. Further updates will be posted in the near future.