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RNLI plans to bring all-weather lifeboat production in-house

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Image of Roselyne Crowther

Roselyne Crowther
Public Relations Manager

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Roselyne Crowther

RNLI plans to bring all-weather lifeboat production in-house

The RNLI has drawn up plans to bring the future production and maintenance of all-weather lifeboats in-house to its Poole HQ in Dorset. Designs for a facility, to be built on RNLI land adjacent to Holes Bay, will be submitted to Borough of Poole as soon as the details are finalised. RNLI Trustees, who have given their approval, hope the project will be given the go ahead as it will save millions in public donations each year, as well as creating 90 new jobs in Poole.

The project will cost the charity £11.2 million and, once the facility is up and running producing and maintaining all-weather lifeboats, would save the RNLI £3.7 million every year as the contractors’ profits and overheads would be avoided. Taking into account the projected timeline towards full production and maintenance, the project is expected to pay for itself in less than 10 years.

RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier says: ‘We need to make the best use of the donations we receive and so I’ve been leading a continuous improvement programme at the RNLI for the last two years. We’ve made significant efficiency savings, some of which can now be used to allow us to build our own lifeboats – we’d be our own customer and we have a water-tight order book. We’ve been successfully producing our own inshore lifeboats at an RNLI facility on the Isle of Wight for decades, and we have no plans to change this.

‘To pay for the new facility, we would use £6.2 million of our efficiency savings and aim to fundraise for the remaining £5 million through trusts and corporate partnerships. Fortunately, the RNLI’s HQ site includes land where this facility could be built. In the long term, saving £3.7 million of donors’ money each and every year is a higher return on investment than we could expect elsewhere, and is equivalent to the cost of two-and-a-half new Shannon class all-weather lifeboats.

‘As well as building our own inshore lifeboats, we already design our own all-weather lifeboats and produce the hulls in-house, and we successfully operate an all-weather lifeboat maintenance centre at RNLI HQ. This project is a logical next step for the charity to take, and we would continue to ensure our lifeboats are the best they can be to protect our volunteer crews and bring them home safely when saving others at sea.’

Subject to planning approval, work at the Holes Bay site, next to the RNLI College, would start in 2013, with the first phase of operations beginning by Spring 2014. The first phase includes all-weather lifeboat refit and overhaul, with all-weather lifeboat hull and deck moulding moving across from RNLI SAR Composites at Lymington by 2019. The RNLI would offer jobs at the new Poole facility to those working at the Lymington site, and plans to extend its apprenticeships scheme as soon as possible.

Notes to editors

• Shannon class all-weather lifeboats currently cost the charity £1.5 million each.

• RNLI interviews can be arranged by calling the number below.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland