Clovelly’s first lifeboat station was built in 1870 after a disastrous storm, when many fishing boats were destroyed and local fishermen drowned.
Clovelly was a vital base for a lifeboat as there was no safe shelter or mooring for many miles on this part of the North Devon coast. Launching was often a perilous affair, with huge waves crashing over the vessel at the harbour entrance. After the RNLI took Clovelly’s permanent lifeboat out of service, villagers set up their own inshore rescue boat. After eight years the RNLI returned, extending the boatshed and enhancing the inshore rescue service. The lifeboat house is often open to visitors.