Port St Mary Lifeboat Station -

1917 to 1936 ; RNLB "Marianne", ON. 556

These pages provides a full list of each Lifeboats' callout history:

James Stevens No.1 Marianne Sir Heath Harrison The Newbons Civil Service No.5 RA Colby Cubbin No.2 Gough Ritchie Gough Ritchie II


Marianne ON.556 (lifeboat details)



Type of vessel

Nature of Problem









Search failed




Rig failed

Gave help

NW 7




Stoodby / No effective service

SW 8



Adverse conditions

Prns saved


SE 8






The first service for the 'Marianne' was on 31st March 1918 a message was received from Castletown Police station that a vessel had been torpedoed eleven miles south east of the Chicken Rock lighthouse. The lifeboat was launched at 12.10 p.m. and proceeded to sea but could only find a broken lifeboat and other wreckage and so returned four hours later.

The vessel which was sunk was the Australian steamship 'Conargo', 375ft long and 4312 gross registered tons. The 'Conargo' was an ex- German vessel taken over by the Australians during the First World War. When she was 12 miles W by N of the Calf she was torpedoed by a German submarine with the loss of nine lives however the rest of her crew survived and were later picked up.

The next service was to the two masted schooner 'Venus' of Castletown with four persons on board. At 10.30 am, 27th August 1919, she was observed flying signals of distress about one and half miles south east of Port St Mary during a NW near gale. The lifeboat was launched and proceeded to the schooner. The skipper informed the Cox. that the sails were blown away and asked that assistance should be sent to him. The lifeboat returned to harbour and the herring drifter 'Busy Bee' went out to tow him in. The lifeboat went out again and stood by both vessels.

Over three years elapsed before the next service on the 10th November 1922. The ketch 'Anna' of Belfast was making shelter in Port St Mary from a SW gale with heavy squalls which rapidly veered to the NW , this caused her head sails to be blown away during one of the heavy squalls. She drifted across the bay and ran ashore at Strandhall. The lifeboat was promptly launched and reached the vessel thirty minutes later. However the crew of the 'Anna' refused to leave the vessel. As the Castletown Rocket Brigade had arrived on scene at that time the lifeboat returned to station.

The next service call came in the August of the following year. During the late afternoon of the 2nd , the Signalman observed a ketch being driven towards Port St Mary before a SE gale with all her sails blown away. He immediately fired the signals and the 'Marianne' was afloat within 10 minutes. The urgency of the call was such that Coxswain Edward Kneen took four Scottish fishermen along to complete the crew. The lifeboat reached the ketch in the middle of the outer harbour and took of her crew of four shortly before she struck the rocks , Gansey Point side of Chapel Bay . This was witnessed by hundreds of locals and visiting tourists.

The ketch proved to be the 120 ton 'Jessamine' from Annalong ,N Ireland. Late in July she had left Annalong bound for Liverpool with a cargo of granite and after discharging there she took on a cargo of oil cake bound for Dalbeattie. Her owner was Joseph Carine, of Annalong who was a Manxman and her master was James Henry Carine. James' father , John Caren hailed from Port St Mary before moving to Annalong. James is famous for being the portrait on all cans of John West sardines for many years.

The lifeboat sustained some minor damage forward, caused by the main boom of the 'Jessamine' when going alongside to pick her crew off. The wind was so strong it was not possible for the crew to row back when returning to the boathouse and it took nearly an hour for her to beat back to the slipway at the breakwater.

The lifeboat crew were Ed Kneen, Cox., J Halsall, H Kneen, T Moore, Ed. Quirk, P Kelly ,W Hudson, H Kermode, W Corris and from the Buckie Drifter BCK 43 , J Cowie, J Cowie, R Sauter and J Coul.

Over a year elapsed before the services of the lifeboat and its crew were called upon. On the 29th December, 1924, the steamer 'Kilburne' was making for Port St Mary harbour in a ESE gale force 8, gusting 9. The 'Kilburne' from Preston was owned and skippered by Mr Fielding. She had earlier sailed light from Port St Mary bound for Liverpool and was a small vessel of 79 tons registered.

Just after noon that day she ran into Port St Mary before large following seas. Her crew managed to get a mooring rope on a mooring buoy in the outer harbour but it then parted. The vessels engine was not powerful enough for her to turn back into the wind and sea and head out of the harbour. This had been seen and the lifeboat crew were summoned but in the time it took for the crew to arrive at the lifeboat house, the 'Kilburne' and its crew of five , had drifted on to the sands at Chapel Beach close to the Promenade wall. The steamers crew were safe and the lifeboat crew were stood down without the 'Marianne' being launched.

Subsequently the 'Kilburne' had a hole repaired and was successfully refloated some days later.

It was to be nearly twelve years and a change of lifeboats before the next service call for the Port St Mary lifeboat. During that period one shore boat service is noted in the station records.

On 27th July 1934 , three visitors hired a rowing boat to take out in the Bay. However there was a Nor westerly , near gale blowing and the visitors rowed out too far. Unable to row back against the heavy sea , they were soon blown offshore. Their plight and signals of distress had been seen by Harbour Master Clugston and he notified Cox. Ed Quirk. However, the 'Marianne' was out of commission due to overhaul work and so Cox. Quirk together with bowman George Kelly asked John Quine, a fisherman and owner of a motorboat 'Faithful', if he would be willing for them to go to the assistance of the visitors. He agreed and they quickly reached the rowing boat and safely towed the three exhausted people back to the safety of the harbour.

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Last edited 9 Feb 2009