The seas, beaches and waterways watched over by our lifesavers are enjoyed by thousands of people every year.
But the water remains an unpredictable environment that can catch people out.
People will always need our help and – thanks to you – we will always be there to answer that call.
Last year, our lifeboat crews saved 460 lives.
That’s 460 people who wouldn’t be here today without their help, countless friends and family who would never have been the same again.
In 2014 volunteers launched 8,462 times around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland, rescuing an average of 24 people a day.
One of the 8,462 launches in 2014 was a tough shout for Wicklow crews in July. When a rip current dragged a pregnant woman into a cave, the volunteers arrived to find a further three people in need of their help nearby. The inshore and all-weather lifeboat crews saved all four of the badly injured and traumatised casualties.
As our frontline rescue service continued to keep thousands safe, we also looked at how to support and sustain it long into the future.
It was a landmark year in our plans for a 25-knot all-weather lifeboat fleet, which will provide every station with a faster, more capable craft. This included a Tamar arriving at The Mumbles, the first Shannon on station at Dungeness, and the structure of our new All-weather Lifeboat Centre taking shape.
Our lifeguards watched over 15.5M beach goers and aided almost 20,000 of them in 2014. We'll never know how many more tragedies they prevented through warnings and advice.
Footage of a rip rescue by Bude Lifeguard Joby Wolfenden-Brown was seen around the world, becoming one of our most viewed YouTube videos of all time.
In August, lifeguards at Polzeath stayed on duty late into the evening as a high spring tide, strong onshore winds and powerful swell created treacherous conditions. They pulled 32 people from the sea in 90 minutes.
Thanks to the training and equipment you’ve helped provide, lifeguards were always ready, throughout the Summer.
Flood rescue volunteers are used to forming new teams at a moment’s notice, often with people they’ve just met.
In January 2014, the Welsh team worked with fire service, coastguard and local mountain rescue teams to save four people from a farmhouse near Pwllheli. The cold water flooding their home was waist deep.
Hundreds of volunteers stood by around the UK, often spending long hours on standby, away from their homes, ready to help out in the floods. Your support kept them as warm and dry as possible in miserable conditions.
Our national campaign spread its message further than ever in Summer 2014, reaching 10.1M adult men and encouraging everyone not to underestimate the power of the water.
We took interactive displays to 9 UK towns and tested some unusual media. Shop-shutter graffiti appeared overnight at Newquay and text was pressure-washed into Happisburgh’s slipway.
We don’t always get stories where the impact of prevention work is so clear – we’ll never know how many lives have been saved by the schemes you’ve funded.
But with over 342,000 children reached by our education volunteers, 10.1M adult men reached by our Respect the Water campaign and 41 new community lifesaving plans in place by the end of 2014, we know we have had an impact for life.
This was lifesaving powered by you.
Your support today will help train and equip our lifesavers so that they're ready for anything.
If you’d like to find out a bit more about 2014 in numbers, read our Annual Review and more, head to our 2014 in Review pages.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Registered charity number 20003326 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 and copyright © RNLI 2015.