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RNLI lifeboat with crew splashing through white horses at sea

About us

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Powered primarily by kind donations, our search and rescue service has been saving lives for 200 years.

We are a charity founded upon and driven by our values of selflessness, courage, dependability and trustworthiness, with volunteers at our heart. Values shared by generations of supporters like you who have powered our lifesaving work through your kindness and generosity for 200 years.

The vast majority of RNLI people are volunteers - ordinary people doing extraordinary things - supported by expert staff, all working together to help communities at home and abroad save lives.

Swanage RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat, George Thomas Lacy 13-13, at sea.

Photo: Steve Lowe

Swanage RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat, George Thomas Lacy 13-13, at sea.

How the RNLI is run

The RNLI relies on thousands of dedicated volunteers to run our lifesaving service. Separate from the coastguard and independent of government, we are a charity with one aim – to save every one.

1824 The year the RNLI was founded

97% of our operational crew are volunteers

144,000+ lives saved since formation

389 lives saved in 2022

Three crew members standing on the sand next to the Tenby Lifeboat Station slipway.

Jobs at the RNLI

If you are looking to make a real difference with the work you do, then why not take a look at the latest vacancies at the RNLI?
We are one crew image of different face shots of RNLI volunteers and staff

Our people

Trustworthy, courageous, dedicated. The RNLI is made up of dedicated people who are working to make the waters around the UK and Ireland a safer place. From the volunteers who launch and crew the lifeboats, run the shops and raise funds, to the staff who support them, we are working as one crew to save lives at sea.

Lifeboat Crew Member Steve Tustin is standing in front of a blue roller door.

RNLI Mayday Appeal – make a lifesaving difference

You can be the difference between just in time and too late. Donate today to help our volunteers answer urgent calls.

Learn more about how the RNLI is run

Hunstanton crew onboard their Self Righting class lifeboat, Licensed Victualler, as she sits on her horse-drawn carriage on the beach. Circa 1900-1931.
Our history
Since 1824 we’ve pioneered developments in lifesaving at sea. And our lifesavers have shown unfailing courage and selflessness.
Delve into our history
Swanage RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat, George Thomas Lacy 13-13, at sea.
How the RNLI is run
We are separate from the Coastguard, independent of the Government and rely on our volunteers and supporters to run our lifesaving service.
See how we’re run
We are one crew image of different face shots of RNLI volunteers and staff
Our people
From our lifesavers and volunteers, to our staff and supporters, we’re all ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Meet our crowd
Working together: lifeboat crew member and lifeguard help a swimmer to shore.
Our strategy
Working together with partners and communities, we aim to educate, influence, supervise and rescue those at risk from drowning.
How we save lives
Launch and recovery excercise of the Dungeness Shannon class lifeboat The Morrell 13-02
Our research

Finding new ways to save lives through innovation, data analysis, and new technology.

Our research
Port Isaac crew in their D class lifeboat in rough seas.
Sustainability
We’re committed to saving lives at sea indefinitely, which means being as sustainable as we can in everything we do.
Our Sustainability Plan
Three crew members standing on the sand next to the Tenby Lifeboat Station slipway.
Jobs at the RNLI
Put your skills to good use and make a lifesaving difference. Take a look at our volunteering and job opportunities.
Visit our job site
Head and shoulders photo of Hayling Island Crew Member Matt Farr
Contact us
You’re at the heart of everything we do and we love to hear from you. Depending on your enquiry, there are many ways to contact us.
Find the best way for you