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South Tyneside has a long and proud tradition of seafaring, shipbuilding and lifesaving and a world renowned reputation for excellence in marine engineering and seamanship.
The Tyne Lifeboat
The first purpose built lifeboat was built in the Borough in 1789, and South Shields is home to Britain's second oldest preserved lifeboat, the Tyne, which is located at the Wouldhave Memorial on Ocean Road.
Her crews saved 1028 stricken mariners in six decades of service in the 19th century.
South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade
A short distance away from the Tyne Lifeboat is the headquarters of the Volunteer Life Brigade whose members have saved countless lives since 1866.
They were one of the very first voluntary life brigades and they were the first to save life from a shipwreck using the breeches buoy.
Their Grade 2 listed Watch House, situated on the South Pier, is a building of immense architectural and historical interest and contains a unique collection of shipwreck material, lifesaving equipment and local history.
Built in the 1860s The Customs House is a listed building overlooking the Tyne and has been transformed into a thriving arts and cultural venue. Find out more about The Customs House
Beside The Customs House is the Merchant Seaman monument, which was unveiled by Countess Mountbatten of Burma on 19 September 1990 in memory of the merchant seamen who sailed from South Shields and lost their lives in World War II.
The town's rich seafaring past is reflected in the evocative Spirit of South Tyneside at Market Dock, overlooking the River Tyne.
Nearby is Fleet, a collection of seven stainless steel collier ships in full sail. The brightly polished ships reflect patterns of both moving sky and water and give the impression of a fleet heading out to sea.