The Lifeboat Victoria was commissioned on Thursday 27th May, 1897 in Newcastle. A state of the art Lifeboat was designed to meet the standards of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. She was self-righting and constructed of mahogany - double skin of diagonal planking with canvas between skins. The diagonal planking provided strength to aid against warping by strong waves.
A crew of 13 propelled the boat, and each was paid one pound per month and for each call-out a further 25 shillings (roughly $57 in today’s dollars) in ordinary weather or 50 shillings ($114) in bad weather. The Coxswain was paid 4 pounds ($2,100) and Second Coxswain 2 pounds ($1,050) - they were each given a Life Insurance policy to the then princely sum of 200 pounds ($100,000).
A self-righting boat is, in theory, incapable of capsizing due to features such as a heavy keel (Victoria II consisted of 2 tonnes of cast iron), deck drains and a series of water-tight compartments. If capsized, then Victoria could right herself in eleven seconds and completely drain of water after a further seventeen seconds.
The Lifeboat Victoria provided a valuable service to the port for decades, and was involved in major rescues, often of ships that foundered on the treacherous Oyster bank, that saved dozens of lives until her retirement. The restored lifeboat now resides in the Maritime Museum as one of its major exhibits.