Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station
This dramatic new building was finished in 2009 to house the new “Blue Peter V” lifeboat. It was designed by the Hutchinson Irvine Architectural Partnership. The land this building is on is one of the sites where shipbuilding took place in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In the 19th century, as a result of the large number of shipwrecks in this area, it was decided to establish a lifeboat station at Cloughey, a small coastal village five miles from here. From 1884 Cloughey lifeboat was called out on 152 rescue missions and saved 311 lives. After relocation to Portavogie in 1965, a lifeboat was in service there until 1978.
Representations were made to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to maintain a lifeboat service here and, in 1979, it was decided to place a single-engined ‘C’ class lifeboat in Portaferry on a trial basis. It was so successful that it became a twenty four hour a day, all year station in 1982.
In 1985 twelve persons were rescued from the converted fishing vessel Tornamona which struck rocks on her way from Portaferry to the Isle of Man. On board were the world famous motor cycling champion Joey Dunlop, his brother Robert and a cargo of eight racing motorbikes for use during the Isle of Man TT races. Tornamona later sank.