James Stevens No.14 Restoration: The world's oldest surviving motor lifeboat.
James Stevens No.14 is the world’s oldest motor lifeboat. Built at Thames Ironworks for Walton-on-the-Naze in 1899 she was one of the first RNLI lifeboats to have an engine fitted in 1906. During her service career from 1900 to 1928, James Stevens No.14 launched 126 times rescuing 227 people. After ten years of hard work costing £250,000 Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust restored her to sea-going condition with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and others.
The restoration project was completed in 2009, and is the only Norfolk and Suffolk class lifeboat afloat in the world today. James Stevens No.14 is one of only two hundred vessels in the UK National Historic Fleet and is therefore permitted to fly a unique distressed ensign. She is honored to be part of the UK Historic Fleet, and was one of the vessels that took part in H.M. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in June 2012.
Trips around local waters will take place during the summer months carrying passengers for pleasure trips to the local seal colony,
Harwich or Ipswich between mid-May and October (weather dependent) from Titchmarsh Marina, Walton-on-the-Naze.
Walton's first lifeboat, Honourable Artillery Company no longer survives, so James Stevens No.14 is the oldest of Walton's surviving lifeboats. Many of her crew have relatives still living in the area. What better gift could Walton`s heritage receive than to have this historic vessel returned for restoration to seagoing condition for future pleasure trips. As a floating exhibit she will illustrate traditional boatbuilding methods, early lifeboat design and hands-on practical experience to the general public.