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Heritage - The Zetland

The World's Oldest Lifeboat....
Redcar is home to the oldest surviving lifeboat in the world...The Zetland. She was built in 1802 and saved over 500 lives until her last shout in 1880. Predating the foundation of the RNLI, the £200 needed to build the Zetland was raised by fishermen, with help from a clergyman and a local aristocrat. The RNLI took over the running of the Zetland in 1858.
Built by lifeboat pioneer Henry Greathead, the Zetland arrived in Redcar 1802. Originally named simply Lifeboat, she was renamed Zetland during her early career in honour of the lord of the local manor.

The Zetland's first rescue was 3rd December 1802, when she went to the aid of two ships, the Sarah and the Friendship, rescuing 15 men in total. She continued to go to the aid of seafarers in trouble off the rocky coast of Cleveland, gaining the trust and love of the people of Redcar.
In almost 80 years' service, only one man lost his life while crewing the Zetland. William Guy was swept overboard on Christmas Day 1836 while trying to throw a line to a coal brig that had been driven ashore.

After service, the intervention of the townspeople of Redcar saved the Zetland from being destroyed. She was housed in a shed and in a barn before being moved in 1907 to her current home, now the Zetland Lifeboat Museum on the promenade at Redcar.
The Zetland and her stories of daring rescues and fearless crews are at the heart of the story of Redcar.

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