“Man is always going to be at the mercy of the seas…” anon
Since the early 1600s, the coastline of North Cornwall has gained a fearful reputation with mariners trading its often stormy waters, whether transporting copper ore or tin in the halcyon days of the Cornish mining industry or “black gold” from the thriving Welsh coal mining industry to feed the ever-increasing industrial demand for energy. During the two World Wars, merchant shipping also had to run the gauntlet of German submarines lying in wait to pick them off as they made passage to or from the Bristol Channel. Plus, with a substantial percentage of the population in Cornwall engaged in the fishing industry, hostile sea conditions, combined with an unforgiving shore, could prove fatal.
These and many other factors contributed to the establishment of an organised national rescue service and this came to Port Isaac with the building of a Lifeboat Station and the arrival of the village’s first lifeboat, the Richard and Sarah 1, back in 1869. Since that time our community have been proud of their association with the RNLI and, until recent years, HM Coastguard and their local volunteer crews who risk their lives to save the lives of others.
“The fishermen knew that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” Vincent Van Gogh