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Privacy and security

The RNLI takes the privacy of its members and supporters very seriously and is committed to protecting your privacy online. 

In this Policy references to the RNLI or to ‘we’ or ‘us’ are to the RNLI, a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736), registered charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland, and to the RNLI’s trading companies  RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 1073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240, RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 and RNLI College Ltd - 7705470  all registered in England and Wales at West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1HZ. A link to this Policy is available from all websites which it applies to. 

This Policy explains the privacy and the data protection practices in connection with:

  • all websites and apps operated by the RNLI and the RNLI’s social media pages  

  • the RNLI’s use of emails and text messaging which we send to our supporters and customers   

  • how we collect information, what we do with it and what controls you have

Collecting personal information is necessary if we are to satisfy the expectations and requirements of our users and supporters and to promote our aims, for example, by communicating with you and providing an interactive service.

What information do we collect?

We collect two kinds of information about our users:

  • non-personal information such as IP addresses (the location of the computer on the internet), pages accessed and files downloaded. This helps us to determine how many people use our sites, how many people visit on a regular basis, which pages are most popular and which pages are least popular. This information doesn't tell us anything about who you are or where you live, it simply allows us to monitor and improve our service. 

  • personal information such as name, postal address, telephone number, email address, date of birth (where appropriate), card or bank details, information about your interests and hobbies etc. We collect this information only in connection with specific activities, such as newsletter requests, registration or membership requests, product purchases, feedback, donations, competition entries etc. The information is either needed to fulfil your request or to enable us to provide you with a more personalised service. You don't have to disclose any of this information to browse the sites. However, if you do choose to withhold requested information, we may not be able to provide you with certain services.

The RNLI also uses cookies. Please see below for further information.

How is the information used?

We will use the information you provide to us to: 

  • fulfil your requests, for example applications for membership, donations, competition entries, participation in campaigns and provision of information  

  • process sales transactions, donations, or other payments and verify financial transactions  

  • identify contributors 

  • handle orders, deliver products and communicate with you about orders  

  • identify visitors  

  • provide a personalised service to you when you visit our websites eg by customising the content and/or layout of our pages for each individual user  

  • record any contact we have with you  

  • prevent or detect fraud or abuses of our websites and enable third parties to carry out technical, logistical or other functions on our behalf  

  • in aggregate (and therefore anonymously) to profile your use of the websites and carry out research on our users' demographics, interests and behaviour to help us gain a better understanding of how our users navigate and use the websites, and to enable us to improve our service to you  

  • improve our service to our users

  • communicate with our supporters and customers 

  • provide you with information which we think may be of interest to you, as explained below

As well as using personal information to fulfil requests, we also like to keep our supporters informed about the RNLI's activities, campaigns and promotions or about updates to our sites. Although we don't sell or rent personal information, we do agree, from time to time with other like-minded organisations to contact each other's supporters for mutual benefit. In addition, we sometimes contact our supporters with offers from companies that benefit the RNLI and may be of interest. 

By entering an RNLI competition you will generally be agreeing to receive mailings, emails or text messages from the RNLI. In other situations, when submitting your personal information, you will be given the option not to be included in mailings or other contacts from the RNLI or other organisations (whether by post, email or other electronic messaging, telephone or fax). If you don't want to receive this information, simply follow the instructions shown below. 

If you do agree to receive this information (whether by entering a competition or otherwise), and later decide that you no longer wish to be contacted, you can let us know by telephoning 0300 300 9990 or in the case of text messages, by texting ‘RNLI STOP’ to 81505 or by contacting us via our Contact us form. 

If we contact you by email or text, each time you receive a message you will also have the option to decline to receive further information from us in that manner.

Use of cookies

Cookies are pieces of information that a website transfers to your hard drive to store and sometimes track information about you. Any information gathered by the use of cookies is compiled on an aggregate, anonymous basis. We use:  

  • session cookies – These are temporary cookies and only stored in your computer’s memory for the time that you are browsing our site. For example, they are used to track what you do on our online shop and items you add to your shopping basket. They are deleted as soon as you end your session.

  • permanent or stored cookies – These are the cookies that remain on your computer even after you have finished your session.

  • flash cookies – If you have Adobe Flash Player on your computer and you view video clips on our sites, additional small files may be stored on your computer to help us understand the use of our media files. Visit Adobe’s website to control the use of flash cookies.

Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but if you prefer, you should be able to change your browser to notify you when you receive a cookie (read the information that came with your browser software), this should then give you the opportunity to decide whether to accept it. If you refuse cookies, you may not be able to take full advantage of our website.  

We use cookies so that we can give you a better and more personalised experience when you return to our websites. In particular we use cookies to: 

  • recognise you when you return to our website so as to avoid lengthy registration on each occasion. 

  • identify who you are and to access your account information. 

  • speed up your searches  

  • estimate our audience size and patterns  

  • ensure that you are not asked to register twice  

  • control how often visitors see similar ads  

  • store information about your preferences, and so allow us to customise our site according to your individual interests and to improve and update our websites.  

  • track the progress and number of entries in some of our promotions and contests. 

Further information about cookies can be found at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's website www.allaboutcookies.org or at Out-law’s site www.aboutcookies.org.  

To find out more about the cookies used on this website, go to our cookies policy.

Third party services

The RNLI uses a variety of services hosted by third parties to help us provide and manage our services. When you use our websites these third parties may collect information sent by your browser as part of a web page request, such as cookies or your IP address. 

When might we provide personal information to others?

When we use other companies to provide services on our behalf, including processing, packaging, mailing and delivering purchases, answering customers’ questions about products or services, sending postal mail, emails and text messages, analysing data and processing credit card payments. We will only provide those companies with the information they need to deliver the service and they are prohibited from using that information for any other purpose. We require all such companies to treat your personal information as fully confidential and to fully comply with all applicable UK Data Protection and consumer legislation.

To our subsidiaries (ie the companies owned by the RNLI). 

If you have agreed that we may do so.  

We may disclose aggregate statistics about our site visitors, customers and sales in order to describe our services and operations to prospective partners, advertisers and other reputable third parties and for other lawful purposes, but these statistics will include no personally identifying information. 

If we receive a complaint about any content you have posted or transmitted to or from one of our sites, if required to do so by law, to enforce or apply our Terms and Conditions or if we believe that such action is necessary to protect and defend the rights, property or personal safety of the RNLI, our websites or our visitors and for other lawful purposes. 

If we merge with another organisation to form a new entity, information may be transferred to the new entity. 

Does the RNLI collect information about children?

​Every year, children take part in a range of important activities for the RNLI. These include our popular sponsored events. To ensure safety and to keep an accurate record of attendance, participants in these events are required to register with us. When children register for these events, their personal information is stored on our database and we contact them from time to time to tell them about future events. If you are under 18 please:  

  • obtain your parent or guardian's permission before you register with us or use our services; and 

  • let an adult know before you use our sites to obtain information about fundraising, campaigning or supporting our work.   

Where is the information stored?

Information which you submit via our websites or competitions is sent to a computer located in the United Kingdom. This is necessary in order to process the information and to send you the information you have requested. Information submitted by you may be transferred by us to our other offices and to other reputable third party organisations as referred to in this Policy and these may be situated outside the European Economic Area.


The RNLI places a great importance on the security of all personally identifiable information associated with our supporters, customers and users. We have security measures in place to attempt to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of personal data under our control. For example, our security and privacy policies are periodically reviewed and enhanced as necessary and only authorised personnel are authorised to access user information. We use secure server software (SSL) to encrypt financial information you input before it is sent to us. While we cannot ensure or guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration of data will not occur, we use our best efforts to try to prevent this.

Unfortunately, the transmission of data across the internet is not completely secure and whilst we do our best to try to protect the security of your information we cannot ensure or guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration of data will not occur whilst you or we are transferring this data. 

Where you or we have provided a password enabling you to access parts of our websites or use our services, it is your responsibility to keep this password confidential. Please don’t share your password with anyone. 


Our sites contain links to other sites. We cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of other websites, even if you access those sites using links from our websites or if you linked to our website from those sites. We recommend that you check the privacy policy of each site you visit and contact the website owner or operator if you have any concerns or questions. 

Refund policy

​If for any reason you suspect that your credit card has been used to make an inaccurate or incorrect transaction through this website, please advise us at the earliest opportunity by calling our Income Processing Section on 0845 121 4999. We will investigate and arrange a refund as necessary.

Using our social media pages

Whilst this statement covers our privacy practices and how we will use any data collected from our websites and social media pages (such as RNLI pages on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr) it doesn’t cover how providers of social media websites will use your information. You should read the social media site’s privacy policies before adding any content to our social media pages. Make use of the social media site privacy settings and reporting mechanisms to control the way that your information is handled.  

Posting content on our websites and social media pages

Remember that the internet provides instant worldwide access. Any information that you provide will be just that – worldwide instantly!    

We don’t moderate our websites. So if you post comments about other people it is not only your privacy that is at stake. Protect your friends’ privacy and reputations. Be careful about uploading any content that may show you or your friends in compromising situations and be aware that other users may abuse the content you have provided.    

Please don’t provide information about yourself or other people unless you are sure you and they are happy to have it made public. In particular, don’t provide any information about others without their consent where that information might identify them, such as:  

  • names  

  • tagged photos  

  • location   

Under no circumstances make public other peoples’ home address, email addresses or contact numbers.  

Using our ‘Tell a friend’ services

Before using our “Tell a Friend” services to email your friends about our activities, campaigns or products, please make sure that you have your friend’s consent to receive our email. Before sending an email to your friend in this way we need you to provide your name and email address (no fictitious or hoax email address or names please) so that we can let your friend know who has arranged for the email to be sent.

If you choose to forward an email that we have sent you, then you do so at your own discretion but as with the above please be sure that the person that you forward the email onto will be happy to receive it.

Your rights

• Any personal information submitted via our websites is treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. To find out more about your entitlements under this legislation, visit the Information Commissioner's website: www.ico.org.uk

• If you would like to review or revise information you have previously provided to us online, you may do so by contacting the Data Protection Officer at the address below.

• You may request details of personal information, which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee may be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you or if you have any questions relating to this statement or how we use the personal information we have about you, please write to: RNLI, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HZ. 


We may make changes to this Policy from time to time. If we change our Privacy Policy we will post the changes on this page.

Your acceptance of this Policy

By using our sites or social media pages, or by entering a competition, you consent to the collection and use of information by the RNLI in accordance with our Privacy Policy. If you do not agree to this Policy, please do not use our sites or social media pages or enter our competitions. 

If you have any questions relating to this Privacy Policy or how we use the personal information we have about you, please contact: the Data Protection Officer at the RNLI, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HZ. Tel: 0300 300 9990. 


This Privacy Policy was last updated: 21 December 2010.