After an absence of two years, the major week-long fundraising event for Swanage RNLI is back, along with the ever popular duck race.
There’s also the ‘build a boat’ competition, outdoor theatre and cinema, fun run, sailing race, quiz, live music and of course, a chance to see the lifeboat crew and boats in action. The event runs from Friday 12th to Sunday 21st August 2022.
Prince Albert Gardens
Much of the action is based around Prince Albert Gardens but the duck race runs along the Swan Brook from the Post Office to The Mowlem.
This year, there’s 2,300 brand new yellow ducks that have been shipped in from China.
They were originally purchased for 2020 but with Covid restrictions the event didn’t take place, so they’ve been stuck in storage for two years and are now raring to go!
A paddling of ducks all ready to be released after being cooped up for two years!
“We want people to enjoy themselves”
Swanage Lifeboat coxswain Dave Turnbull said:
“The duck race is very popular but is a bit of a logistical nightmare. Each one has had to be numbered on its bottom but fortunately one of our volunteers Linda Oliver has organised it all – she’s done a great job!
“This year, we’ve changed the day of the fun run to Wednesday and the quiz to Thursday – hopefully we’ll have some of the crew taking part in these events but we’ll also be setting up Prince Albert Gardens for the live music and refreshments on the Friday.
“While the aim of the week is to raise funds, it’s also about having fun and raising awareness of what we do. We want people to enjoy themselves and also be able to afford to bring their family and friends along to the events.”
Swanage Lifeboat coxswain Dave Turnbull (left) with crew member Steve Williams (right)
Yacht with engine failure
In between all the organising for Swanage Lifeboat Week, there’s also been callouts to contend with.
At around 11 pm on Tuesday 9th August 2022 the crew went to assist a yacht with engine failure that was on passage from the Channel Islands.
Fearing for its safety in a busy shipping lane with several large cruise ships and commercial vessels in the area, the all weather lifeboat safely towed the vessel back to Swanage Bay. By the time the lifeboat volunteers got to bed it was at least 4 am.
Clive Townley has been a volunteering for more than 10 years as a Swanage Lifeboat Station visits team member
“You don’t have to put on a pair of wellies and get wet to save someone’s life!”
Having had less sleep than usual, Dave added:
“We really rely on and are grateful to all our local RNLI volunteers, who make lifeboat week possible, as well as supporting everything we do throughout the year.
“Many people think that volunteering for the RNLI is being part of the lifeboat crew, but volunteers also work in the shop, show visitors around the lifeboat station and are part of the fundraising team. You don’t have to put on a pair of wellies and get wet to save someone’s life!
“We welcome new volunteers all the time, so please come along to lifeboat week and chat to any of us if you are interested in joining the team.”
The all weather lifeboat 13-13 has just arrived back at Swanage Lifeboat Station in time for lifeboat week, after undergoing many weeks of maintenance at the RNLI HQ in Poole
What’s on during Swanage Lifeboat Week in August 2022
- Open golf competition at The Dorset Golf and Country Club
- Ducks go on sale in town for the duck race at £2 each
At Swanage Lifeboat Station during lifeboat week 2019
- Angling competition organised by Swanage Angling Club
- Ducks available to buy in town for the duck race at £2 each
- Duck race starts at 4 pm at the Swan Brook by the Post Office and ends by The Mowlem
- Outdoor theatre performance of the bawdy comedy, The Recruiting Officer by the Rain or Shine Theatre Company at Prince Albert Gardens. ‘Doors’ open at 5.45 pm with a performance start time of 7 pm. Tickets available at the event or online
The outdoor cinema evening with Swanage Bay as part of the scenery
- Outdoor cinema performance of James Bond film No Time to Die starts 8.30 pm at Prince Albert Gardens
- Lighthouse loop – a 5k fun run starting at Peveril Point, heading up to Anvil Point Lighthouse and then returning back to The Downs and Peveril Point. Sign up at 6 pm for 7pm start
The lighthouse loop – up the Downs to Durlston and back again
- Lifeboat launch from Swanage Lifeboat Station at 6.15 pm
- Swanage Sailing Club senior race from 6.15 pm
- Gig race from Main Beach from 6 pm
- Fun quiz at the Swanage Legion in the High Street starting at 8 pm. Teams of up to six – £3 a person
- Flag day street collection in town in the morning
- Live music, bar and food from 6 pm at Prince Albert Gardens
Prince Albert Gardens during Swanage Lifeboat Week in 2019
- Lifeboat festival and fair from 11 am at Prince Albert Gardens including Swanage Bay Fish lobster raffle draw at 1 pm, ‘build a boat’ competition with race at 4 pm and live music, bar and food from 6 pm
- RNLI boathouse open day with lifeboat launches from 12 noon
- Lifeboat service from 4 pm at Swanage Pier
The ‘build a boat’ competition pulls the crowds