Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station is proud to own the tag of the 'Oldest Operational Lifeboat Station' in Great Britain. Having been established in 1800 and taken over by the RNLI in 1865.
Since then, owing to difficulty in obtaining a suitable site, there have been a total of twelve different stations, with a maximum of four being in operation at any one time. This was between 1873 and 1887 when Sunderland had four independent stations operating at the same time.
The motor lifeboat station, which was established in 1912, is now the only remaining station along with the ILB station, which was established in May 1966. During the station's lifetime three RNLI Silver medals have been awarded, the last being awarded in 1891.
As part of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's 2004 North East Coastal Review, the decision was taken to replace the Station's All Weather Trent Class Lifeboat with a 'B Class' Atlantic 75.
The B Class will be better suited to the type of rescues which are carried out off the coast of Sunderland and Seaham. In May 2007 the stations Atlantic 75 class inshore lifeboat was replaced with a state of the art Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat.
Both of the inshore lifeboats operate from a station which is located within Sunderland Marina.