St Ives Lifeboat – 1973

St Ives, Cornwall – home of artists and haunt of holiday makers. We were amongst the latter in the spring of 1973. It may have been a chilly day around Easter time, but St Ives was crowded with people. Quite unexpectedly, a couple of explosions were heard over the town. The maroons had gone up. Lifeboat men were summoned to action stations by the sound of the explosions.

What followed seemed odd, to say the least. From somewhere, a heavy caterpillar tracked tractor came, hauling a lifeboat on a caterpillar tracked trailer. This processed along the seafront street, amongst us gawping tourists.


When the tractor/trailer/lifeboat convoy reached a slipway it reversed down it until the lifeboat was in enough water to be launched.


One’s thoughts turned to whoever was in distress and desperately waiting for rescue as the slow lumbering set up navigated the narrow St Ives streets before the lifeboat could be launched.

I can report that by the time we left St Ives, the lifeboat had returned with no sign of any distressed people. Perhaps it had been a training exercise.


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