The Institution's Journal for February 1891 quotes as follows...
"Atherfield, Isle of Wight - It having been considered that a lifeboat
placed at Atherfield, on the south west shore of the Isle of Wight, would
be the means of affording material assistance to vessels which are not
un-frequently driven on to the ledges of rocks off that dangerous part
of the coast, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution decided last year
to form a lifeboat station there. Accordingly a corrugated iron boathouse
has been erected on the top of the cliff - here about 76 feet high -to
the face of which a series of flat skids or sleepers have been securely
fastened; over these the lifeboat is lowered by ropes, the incline being
1 in 3 and the distance to the beach about 240 feet. When returning to
the boathouse the lifeboat is hauled up by means of a powerful winch.
The new boat, which was placed on its station in October last, is 31 feet
long, 7¼ feet wide, and rows 10 oars, double-banked. It possesses all
the latest improvements, with all the other characteristics of the boats
of the Institution in the way of self-righting, self-ejecting water etc.
The cost of the new boat and equipment has been defrayed from a legacy
bequeathed to the Institution for the purpose by the late Mrs Swift of
Kensington and Chale, the boat being named after her, the Catherine Swift.
The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company kindly gave the lifeboat
a free conveyance over their line from London to Portsmouth, whence it
was sailed to its station on 29 October by the crew, who came over specially
to fetch it. When off St Catherine's, they found a very heavy hollow sea
in the 'race' there; and the Coxswain and crew afterwards reported that
the boat behaved admirably and gave them every satisfaction. The slipway
was found to work perfectly, while not the least difficulty was experienced
in hauling the boat up the steep incline and placing it in the house.
A launch can be effected in about a quarter of an hour; and altogether
this new lifeboat station is likely to prove a very efficient one. There
are seven brothers in the crew, including William Cotton, the Coxswain
Superintendent, and David Cotton, the Second Coxswain. The two last-named
men had the Silver Medal of the Institution voted to them for their conspicuous
gallantry in going out three times in the Brighstone Grange lifeboat on
9 and 10 March 1888 and assisting to save the lives of 30 persons from
the ship Sirenia of Glasgow, which had stranded on Atherfield Ledge during
foggy and tempestuous weather."