Aerial photo of Sandbanks
An aerial view of the entrance to Poole Harbour, Dorset

Our area

RNLI South West Region

Poole Lifeboat Station is one of 235 lifeboat stations in the UK and RoI and is one of 35 in the RNLI's South Division.


  • Explore stations are normally open all year and have an RNLI gift shop
  • Discover stations are normally open during the Summer months
  • Observe stations may be open by appointment only
  • RNLI lifeguard area

Search and rescue area

Poole Harbour chart

Poole Lifeboat Station is located within Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world (and Europe's largest), with over 100 miles of shoreline.

Poole Bay chart

The search and rescue area also covers Poole Bay, with its 7-mile stretch of award-winning golden beaches from Sandbanks to Southbourne, and as far out to sea as required. The beaches are patrolled by RNLI lifeguards too, mostly on a seasonal basis.

Occasionally the crew and lifeboats sneak across to Christchurch Head and Hengistbury Head, and as far south as Anvil Point or beyond depending on the request from the Coastguard for our services.

Neighbouring stations

Map of stations

Poole lifeboats also work alongside the neighbouring lifeboat stations of Mudeford and Swanage to provide cover for the area. Occasionally we may also be called to work with the lifeboats from Lymington and Yarmouth in the Solent, or Weymouth further west when there are extensive searches to be carried out.

Typical call outs

Map of harbour callouts

The map on the left (please click to expand) shows the area of Poole Bay and Harbour with local reference names and channels marked. Poole Harbour's extensive sheltered waters provide a magnificent haven for recreational boating, sailing and a myriad of watersports. The highlighted hotspots (red) identify areas with a high frequency of calls for assistance.

The popular beaches and piers around Bournemouth and Boscombe give rise to numerous calls for assistance each year. Typical incidents include coming to the aid of midnight swimmers. Further out in Poole Bay there are a number of shipwrecks that are popular with divers and missing/overdue divers provide a few call outs.

Then there are the frequent incidents of mechanical failure, fouled props, capsizing, taking water onboard and crew illness, which can happen almost anywhere!

Local lifeguards

There are 14 RNLI lifeguarded beaches in the local area, along a 7-mile stretch from Sandbanks to Southbourne.

Poole Lifeguard beachesBournemouth Lifeguard beaches

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland | RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 01073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240, RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 and RNLI College Ltd - 7705470 are all companies registered at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ. Images & copyright RNLI 2013.