Build A Lifesaving Future

  • We've rescued an average of 22 people every day for the past 3 years

    We've rescued an average of 22 people every day for the past 3 years

    Build for life
    Image of a Tamar class all-weather lifeboat. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard
  • 'This will make our build and refit programme so much more efficient' – Andy Elton, Maintenance Technician

    'This will make our build and refit programme so much more efficient' – Andy Elton, Lifeboat Plant Maintenance

    Build for life
    Image of the Shannon prototype. Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams
  • 'This will give us more control than ever before' – Stafford Houchen, Construction and Refit Manager

    'This will give us more control than ever before' – Stafford Houchen, Construction and Refit Manager

    Build for life
    Image of a lifeboat being built. Photo: RNLI/Paul Halliwell
  • 'These men gave me 30 more years to live' – John Aicher, shipwreck survivor

    'These men gave me 30 more years to live' – John Aicher, shipwreck survivor

    Build for life
    Image of John Aicher. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard


Please contact Benjamin Jordan on 01202 663228.



Lorem Flagship RNLI Future Fund Lorem

The Members' Club

As a Flagship supporter, you can work with us to meet our vision, and secure the future production and maintenance of our all-weather lifeboat fleet. And as a member of this exclusive club, you can enjoy a unique experience tailored to your needs.

The safety of the 8,000 people we rescue every year and the 7,500 volunteers who give their time to save lives at sea is paramount.

We need your help. quote.png

Paul Boissier - Chief Executive RNLI

The Experience

  • Attend exclusive networking events.
  • Get the inside track on project developments.
  • Receive lasting acknowledgement of your contribution.



impression.PNGThe future of lifeboat building is uncertain

As the technology used in constructing our all-weather lifeboats has advanced, the pool of suppliers who can meet our needs has reduced dramatically.

This gives us less opportunity to negotiate on costs, and has caused a risk to the supply chain. If lifeboat construction is forced overseas, quality control will also become more difficult.

The RNLI has a 20-year strategy that requires the building of six all-weather lifeboats every year, as well as a constant need to maintain our existing fleet. We must act now to safeguard the future of all-weather lifeboat production, and the RNLI’s future in saving lives at sea.



Bringing all-weather lifeboat production and maintenance under one roof

Our vision is to develop a centre of engineering excellence in lifeboat production and maintenance at our headquarters in Poole, Dorset. Built on land we already own, the new site will be at the centre of RNLI expertise. 

The new facility will revolutionise our lifeboat production and maintenance programme, bringing every stage of the production process under one roof, and ensuring that we are fully equipped to build the next generation of lifeboats, and continue saving lives at sea for years to come. ​

A history of innovation in lifeboat building

The RNLI has pioneered developments in lifeboat building throughout its 200-year history. We have come a long way since the early lifeboats propelled by wind and oar, witnessing a range of key developments including:

  • 1890 a the first steam-driven lifeboat
  • 1967 a the first ‘fast’ all-weather lifeboat, the 15-knot Waveney class
  • 1963 First inflatable lifeboat the first rigid inflatable lifeboat
  • 1908 a the first lifeboat built with a motor

Today, we produce our own all-weather lifeboat hulls at RNLI SAR Composites in Lymington, and undertake some of the maintenance work at our Lifeboat Maintenance Centre in Poole. 

We also produce and maintain our inshore lifeboat fleet at a facility on the Isle of Wight, and have done so very successfully for decades. Bringing our all-weather lifeboat construction and maintenance together under one roof, in line with our inshore lifeboat programme, is the logical next step for the RNLI.  

The new facility will enable us to extend our wealth of experience to our all-weather lifeboat fleet. We can ensure that our volunteer lifeboat crew are always put first, and provide them with the very best lifeboats for generations to come. ​

A commitment to continuous improvement, being the best, and investing our supporters’ money wisely 

Once fully operational (expected in 2019), the facility will save the RNLI millions of pounds every year due to the efficiency of having everything in one place, and because we will no longer be paying for contractors' profits and overheads.  

We will be our own customer in control of our own destiny, with complete control of the lifesaving process. We will apply our continuous improvement efficiency programme to every stage of our lifeboat building, ensuring that we are investing our supporters’ money wisely, and achieving the best possible return on their investment. ​

Making the vision a reality 


Raising of the ground level can begin this Spring. All operations previously carried out on the site (lifeboat maintenance) have been temporarily relocated, and will be phased back in once the project is complete.

The actual building of the facility is scheduled to start this Summer, and be completed in Spring 2014. Work should then gradually return to the site between 2014 and 2019, with the site fully operational in 2019.   

The first phase of operations at the facility is scheduled to begin in Spring 2014, including the all-weather lifeboat refit and overhaul bays and equipment. ​ 

A new generation of staff to build the next generation of lifeboats 

The new facility will develop the skills of our existing workforce and create 90 new jobs between 2014 and 2019. This includes developing the future workforce with an expanded apprenticeship programme for engineers, laminators and boatbuilders. The first six apprentices were recruited at the end of August 2012, so by the time the first phase of operations begins in 2014 we will already have a steady stream of qualified individuals ready to begin work.