31 March: It was reported that a socket sound signal had been fired and did not explode until within 20 or 30 feet of the ground and that it set the heath (which happened to be very dry) on fire.
Socket sound signals were discontinued and a mortar was supplied to assemble the crew for a call out.
Poole and Swanage lifeboats launched to the barque Brilliant that had gone aground on Hook Sands on 12 January. Coxswain William Brown of Swanage lifeboat tragically lost his life when he was washed out of the lifeboat as a series of large waves swamped it. Poole crew continued with the service and rescued 10 men in a blinding snowstorm.
Boy’s Own No. 2 was sold.
In March the lifeboat crew were asked to trial one of the early 38′ Watson class lifeboats. The crew liked her so much and asked if they could keep her. As she was not suitable for carriage launching, alterations had to be made to the boathouse so the boat could be launched into the sea.
A new slipway was built in line with the boathouse and cost £135 to build. The Corporation slipway, originally used by the lifeboat, was often blocked by fishing boats that used the slipway to launch and service their own boats.
The naming and dedication of the new City Masonic Club lifeboat took place on 26 August 1897. The fund for the new lifeboat raised £650.
A Head Launcher was appointed for the first time to take charge of the boathouse when the boat was afloat. He was employed at £1 per annum and 4/- when the boat was afloat.
A Certificate of Service was presented to Coxswain John Hughes on his resignation as Coxswain after 17 years of service at the age of 63.