have a wide number of charities but not many have charities like the RNLI
- A charity where the workers are not only unpaid for the work that they
do, but risk their own lives almost every time they provide a service.
RNLI - Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The RNLI - Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a
registered charity which exists to save lives at sea. It provides, on call, the 24-hour
service necessary to cover search and rescue requirements to 50 miles out from the coastline of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
There are 224 lifeboat stations.
The RNLI depends entirely on voluntary contributions and legacies for its
the RNLI lifeboats launch around 6,500 times saving many lives, but many
people are not aware of how much they depend on the RNLI. Those that live
inland often think that they have no connection with the RNLI but they
do. Approximately half of lifeboat launches are to help pleasure craft but many are also
to merchant vessels and fishing vessels. Fishing boats obviously provide food to not only
those on the coast but also landlubbers as well. Merchant ships are responsible for the
majority of imports and exports from the United Kingdom including much of the food that we
eat and therefore everybody is dependent on the safety of seamen around the coast of the
Approximately 20 times a day lifeboats are launched around the country, not only to
save lives at sea but also to help people in trouble around the shoreline. Many rescues
are performed in darkness and many more in the worst of conditions that the British
weather can muster.
Since the RNLI was founded, its lifeboats have saved over 134,000 lives.
The RNLI was formed in 1824 when Sir William Hillary, a courageous
lifeboatman, co-ordinated the first lifeboat service. His appeal to the nation led to the
foundation of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, later
to become the RNLI
A Gold Medal for outstanding bravery was also created in 1824 and six years later Sir
William Hillary received the Gold Medal for his part in the rescue of the crew of the St
Captain Ward, an RNLI Inspector, invented a cork lifejacket, which gave
lifeboat crews weather protection as well as buoyancy and the Institution changed its name
to Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
In 1884 the original RNLI
flag was designed, based on the Cross of St George and in 1890 The first steam powered
lifeboat, the Duke of Northumberland entered service. A year later Charles Macara
organised the first street collection raising funds for the RNLI.
In 1957 Helicopters were employed for the first time in co-ordinated air-sea rescues and a
year later the first self righting boats were introduced.
The Lifeboat Fleet
has an active fleet of 309 lifeboats, ranging from 4.9m (16ft) to 17m (55ft 9in) in
length. The relief fleet comprises of 110 additional lifeboats.
Lifeboats range from small inflatable craft to multi million pound ocean going vessels.
They are launched in many different ways depending on the circumstances of the surrounding
coastline. Many lifeboats are housed in boathouses around the coast and some of the larger
boats are kept permanently afloat in harbours. Some lifeboats have to be towed through the
streets before being launched, some down slipway's straight from the boathouse and some
over runners down a steep beach such as at Aldeburgh
Lifeboatmen and women are volunteers. There is a full-time mechanic in each all-weather
lifeboat crew. The volunteers receive a few pounds each time they are called out to cover