The charity that saves lives at sea...and on the Thames

lifeboat station

About the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity, which depends on voluntary contributions not government funding.


It provides a 24-hour on-call service to cover search and rescue requirements on inland waters, beaches, the River Thames and out to 100 nautical miles from the coast of the United Kingdom and Ireland.


Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, our lifeboats, and since 2001, our 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 2014, half of all launches (4,202) were to leisure craft users. This includes powerboats, yachts, kayakers, surfers, paddle boarders, body boarders and tenders without outboards.


20% of launches (1,688) were to people ashore, 15% (1,307) to people in the water, 5% (397) to fishing boats, 3% (213) to commercial or MOD boats and 8% (655) to other sea users.

Find out more about the RNLI across the country old boat modern boats lifeguards