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RNLI 200th Anniversary Celebrations

Royal William Yard

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RNLI boat at Royal William Yard



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To mark the magnificent milestone of the RNLI's 200th year, a day of celebrations will take place at Royal William Yard on Sunday 3rd March (10am-3pm). The waterfront destination will host a jam-packed day of free activities, including the chance to climb aboard lifeboats in the marina, watch daring demonstrations, enjoy sea shanty performances, and discover the remarkable history of the RNLI during its anniversary year.

Four RNLI lifeboats, including the Severn class all-weather lifeboat – the largest in the fleet – will be moored in Royal William Yard Marina, which will be the backdrop for live sea rescue demonstrations. The lifeboats and their crew will welcome visitors on board throughout the day before the flotilla sets sail for a procession – accompanied by a rescue helicopter - across the Hoe to close the event.

Adding to the party atmosphere, live music will come courtesy of the shanty band, the Tavy Tars, performing songs from the sea. The event will provide plenty of entertainment for all, while also raising funds to help support the work of the RNLI and its 238 lifeboat stations and 242 lifeguard-protected beaches.

Family Time

As well as all the action on the water, the RNLI team will provide information and entertainment back on dry land with the RNLI fundraising team, RNLI shop, Water Safety Team, Coastguard Rescue Team, and Dartmoor Search and Rescue all in attendance. At the RNLI stall, children can have fun trying on lifeboat crew uniforms, with custom-made Helly Hansen kids' kits.

Families can get involved in an RNLI-themed interactive trail, exploring Royal William Yard to uncover fascinating facts about the charity and delve into its remarkable history. Plymouth was one of the first places on the coast of Great Britain to have a lifeboat and has played a pivotal role since the RNLI was founded in 1824.

Live event schedule

10am-2:45pm – Severn, Atlantic 85 and two Tyne class lifeboats will be open to the public to board and explore, making the perfect activity in between the other live events below:
10:30-11am – Tavy Tars shanty group performance
11:30-12:30 – man overboard recovery demonstration
12:30-1pm – Tavy Tars shanty group performance
1:30-2:45pm – event, activities and final performance from the Tavy Tars on the Green
3pm – all lifeboats depart Royal William Yard and will be joined by a Rescue 924 Helicopter for a procession across the Hoe foreshore.

Make a day of it

With activity unfolding site-wide, visitors can make a day of it and enjoy Royal William Yard's popular monthly Good Food & Draft Market, taking place alongside the RNLI's big birthday bash. The market will run from 10am-3pm on the Green and showcase the region's best producers and artisans, with food, drink and treats aplenty.

Making it even easier to enjoy the day of celebrations, there will be a free dedicated shuttle bus service running in a loop from the City Centre to Royal William Yard and back every half hour. The hop-on hop-off service has two pick-up points in town and runs from 10am to 3:30pm.

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