The new lifeboat station building team have to work around the extreme tides of the Bristol Channel

Plenty of activity is underway at the site of one of the RNLI’s newest lifeboat stations at Portishead.

Work on the foundations for the new Portishead lifeboat station

has advanced, with some concrete having been poured, and the drilling

completed for the piled section of the boathouse


has started on the ground source heating system. A drilling machine has been boring two 100 metre deep holes for the

pipes which will provide a source of heat for the under floor heating.

This type of system is ecologically friendly and requires little

maintenance in the long term.

Work on the beach has progressed

with the concrete foundation rings, and this week the piling machine has

been on the beach drilling four holes in each of the concrete rings

ready for the piles to be inserted. These piles will support the 60

metre long launch ramp. 

Working around the tides

For the contractors, Andrew Scott work

on the beach has to be planned around the tides, which in this part of

the Bristol Channel are the second highest rise and fall in the world,

(second to the Bay of Fundy, which borders North America and Canada and

has an extreme range of 16.3 metres). On a big spring tide the range

from low water to high water can be as much as 14.8 Metres! (48’6″)


other problem is that each time the tide comes in it deposits water,

mud and silt in the foundation rings, this has to be cleaned out prior

to work being carried out.


Littlejohn, RNLI’s shoreworks divisional manager for the South West, said: ‘Work on the foundations of the new lifeboat station is a

significant step forward and a very exciting one. Although not visibly

obvious, we can now start to see the building itself start to grow up

out of them and begin to take shape.

‘Working around the tide is not

easy and takes enormous organisation. Unfortunately it sometimes means

that building work starts very early in the morning or at awkward times

for local residents. The contractors Andrew Scott have tried to keep

this to a minimum as much as possible but we are very grateful for the

patience of those in the surrounding buildings.’

The RNLI are

building the new lifeboat station ahead of a formal adoption of The

Portishead Lifeboat Trust when the station is built, according to the

wishes of the charity’s trustees who agreed that an adoption would take

place once the RNLI had provided a new home that was fit for purpose.

Pictures: Drilling bore

holes for ground source heating; Work on the

beach, tide out; Six hours

later, tide in; Piling on

foundations for launch ramp. Credit: RNLI/Dave Herbert