Tackling the international drowning epidemic
Drowning claims an estimated 400,000 lives around the world each year, over half of which are children. This is a conservative estimate – the actual number is likely to be much higher. A staggering 96% of these drownings happen in low- and middle-income countries. Despite the scale of the problem, it is barely recognised – a hidden epidemic.
We are expanding our international work, providing others with the knowledge, equipment and skills to try to reduce this staggering loss of life.
We know drowning is preventable. A large proportion of global drownings each year occur in coastal locations, in floods, in rivers or in other large bodies of water – areas in which we have expertise in saving lives and can offer help.
We’re not setting up RNLI services overseas, but we’re giving others the means to help themselves by providing a range of services to other lifesaving and drowning prevention organisations. In each case, we assess their current capabilities and needs, to decide how best we can help. This help might take the form of bespoke training, programme development or strategic guidance and advice.
Lifeguard training tackles drowning in the Gambia and Senegal
Bangladesh receives vital flood rescue and survival training
Hundreds of African children benefit from new lifesaving tuition
International lifesavers in UK for training in how to save lives from drowning
Future Leaders in Lifesaving video blog
Senegal video diary
RNLI lifeguards help save lives in Senegal
More lives to be saved from drowning in Bangladesh thanks to vital RNLI training
International lifesaving trainees help RNLI lifeguards rescue boy at Sandbanks
International lifesavers arrive in the UK for specialist training with the RNLI
British Virgin Islands
The RNLI has nearly 200 years of experience in delivering a world-class maritime search and rescue service for the UK and Ireland. Our service constantly evolves to stay in line with an ever-changing maritime environment that spans everything from leisure users on the beach and sea to commercial shipping.
Today, the RNLI saves lives at sea in four ways: lifeboating, lifeguarding, safety advice and flood rescue. Combined, they provide one of the most effective maritime rescue services in the world.
As part of our growing international development work, we are offering consultancy services to new, developing and established lifesaving and search and rescue organisations.
Find out more about how the RNLI could help you develop or improve your lifesaving organisation.
We deliver the highest standards of training to search and rescue personnel both in the UK and around the world. Some of our most recent clients include the search and rescue organisations of China, Iceland and Portugal.
Training can be delivered by our experienced staff at our specialist training centre, RNLI College, or at any other suitable location. The fully residential RNLI College is based on the south coast of England.
Our facilities include training rooms, fire and full mission bridge simulators (lifeboat and commercial vessel), live engine workshops, survival centre with 25m wave tank (special effects include blackout capability, storm simulation and helicopter recovery), and a variety of search and rescue training vessels.
Our expertise is derived from a combination of RNLI experience and the use of cutting-edge technology and training techniques.
All our training services can be tailored and quoted to suit your specific needs and may include:
leadership and teambuilding
rough weather handling
engine and electrical
Read more about lifeboat training.
Experienced RNLI staff can also deliver training and assessment to search and rescue and lifesaving teams in their own countries. Training materials are provided.
We have an active fleet of over 340 lifeboats, ranging from 3.8–17m in length, as well as a relief fleet. There are also four active and three relief hovercraft.
Different classes of lifeboat are needed for various locations, depending on geographical features and the kind of rescue work that the station is asked to do.
Our lifeboats are built and maintained to the highest standards. Many of our former lifeboats have been sold at competitive prices to other search and rescue organisations in countries including Australia, Chile, China, Iceland, Portugal, South Africa and Uruguay, to carry on their intended purpose of saving lives at sea. For a list of former RNLI lifeboats for sale, please contact us.
We construct many of our own lifeboats and in the past have built boats for other rescue services. Please contact us if you would like further information.
Working with a complicated and varied coastline, running 236 lifeboat stations and more than 180 lifeguard units, and constantly monitoring and improving performance has given the RNLI a vast depth of experience and skills. We can work with you, sharing our experience, to help define and improve your maritime search and rescue strategy
The RNLI has built up considerable experience of rapid response to inland flooding both in the UK and abroad.
This is a completely different environment from the sea, and it needs a very different set of skills. We have teams specially trained in swift-water rescue, and practical experience in both preparation and operational flood rescue activity.
To find out how we can help you develop your flood response plans and capabilities, please contact us.
RNLI College is a unique harbourside location for conferences, training and teambuilding.
All profits made at RNLI College help save lives at sea.
Lifeguard training in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has one of the highest drowning rates in the world. Drowning claims the lives of around 18,000 Bangladeshi children each year, making it more deadly than infectious disease or malnutrition.
But hundreds of lives could be saved every year in Bangladesh now the country’s first ever lifesaving club has been set up with the help of the RNLI.
Experienced RNLI Lifeguard Trainers Darren Williams and Scott Davidson spent 2 weeks delivering a comprehensive lifeguard training programme to 15 Bangladeshi volunteers, including the first female lifeguard in Bangladesh.
They covered the essentials of lifeguard training, including:
recognising when someone is in distress
understanding rescue equipment
reaching, rescuing, assessing and treating a casualty.
They also delivered a Train the Trainer course, so that the volunteers could teach the skills they had learned to others, enabling them to keep sharing their skills long after the trainers had returned home.
Within days of completing their training, the Bangladeshi lifeguard volunteers saved their first life. Just a few days of training is already saving lives and will continue to do so for years to come, thanks to the effective partnership of RNLI experts with dedicated local volunteers.
Darren and Scott returned to Bangladesh to oversee the delivery of training to 45 more lifeguards. The local lifeguards trained back in March led the sessions, supported by Darren and Scott, using a training manual developed by the RNLI specifically for use in countries where specialist equipment and facilities are not available.
They also taught the lifeguards how to deliver water safety education talks in schools. If the newly-trained lifeguards can give vital advice to thousands of school children, we hope hundreds more lives could be saved each year.
Darren and Scott, re-visited the beach lifesaving club they have helped to set up in the Cox’s Bazar area over the past 2 years. This time, the trainers monitored the Bangladeshi lifeguards running their lifesaving club and training courses, stepping in to offer advice and further training where required. They spent time instructing the Bangladeshi lifeguards on how to run water safety education programmes in school, and helping them develop the content for those sessions.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland | RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 1073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240, RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 and RNLI College Ltd - 7705470 are all companies registered in England and Wales at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ. Images & copyright © RNLI 2014.