After many years of delays, building finally started on the new boathouse. Funded by Volvo Car UK, as well as the Volvo Dealers’ Network, and other voluntary workers, it was opened on May 25, 1996 by Lt. Cdr. Brian Miles, Director of the RNLI. The site is close to that of the original boathouse, which pre-dated the RNLI boathouse built on the pier in 1866. The spacious new building houses both of the lifeboats and their launch vehicles, as well as storage for the crew‘s protective clothing and life-jackets. It also comprises a workshop, and a crew room. This boathouse is designed to meet requirements well into the twenty-first century.
Before the construction of the new boathouse and slipway, the lifeboat had to be manoeuvred out of its house on the Pier, towed along the Quay past the front of the Royal Brittania Hotel and into the bus-station car-park, then pushed round a tight corner and down a narrow slipway. ln 1997, the new slipway was constructed, giving direct access from the new boathouse to the harbour beach. The two major improvements have cut launching times by up to ten minutes - ten vital minutes to a casualty in distress.