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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is the registered charity that saves lives at sea (since 1824).

We provide, on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service and a seasonal lifeguard service. Our Values reflect the way we do business as an organisation. 


The RNLI saves lives at sea.


To end preventable loss of life at sea.

Based at over 231 lifeboat stations, our volunteer crews provide, on call, the 24-hour service necessary to cover Search and Rescue requirements up to 100 nautical miles out to sea from the coast of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

2012 saw our lifeboats launch 8,346 times and, despite the wet summer, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, rescued 7,964 people.  The RNLI lifeguards were also very busy, with 14,523 incidents and aiding 16,418 people on 110 beaches in the south west of England, East Anglia and South Wales. Altogether, our volunteer crews and RNLI lifeguards aided  24,482 people last year.

Of course, in many cases, our crews intervene at an earlier stage and assist people who are either at risk or injured, as well as carrying out a wide range of preventative work.

The RNLI’s lifeboat service receives no funding from the UK government and depends upon voluntary contributions and legacies for its income.

Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboats, and since 2001, its lifeguards, have saved more than 140,000 lives.

More and more people are using beaches and the sea for leisure and RNLI crews and lifeguards are responding to an increased number of incidents.

In 2012, 49% of launches were to leisure craft users, 20% to people ashore, 13% to people in the water, 10% to merchant or fishing vessels and 8% to other sea users.