Running costs

It cost £139.2M (€157.3M) in 2020 to run our lifesaving service – all funded by our generous supporters.

Keeping a modern fleet of lifeboats ever-ready to go to the rescue from over 238 lifeboat stations is an expensive business. Then there's crew training, running a lifeguard service on more than 248 popular beaches and campaigning for water safety, and the pounds start to add up.

It cost £139.2M (€157.3M) for the RNLI to run in 2020, all of which was generously donated by the public. This might sound like a lot, but we think the 23 people our lifeboat crews rescue on average every day are worth it. For more detailed information see our Annual Report and Accounts.

How is the RNLI funded?

The RNLI is funded primarily by kind donations. 92% of our total income comes from donations, with the remaining 8% coming from income sources including trading and investments. As a charity that is independent of the government, the RNLI receives no government funding.

How much does RNLI rescue kit and equipment cost?

Three crew members are stood on a rock next to the sea smiling and wearing full crew kit

Equipment (2021 costs) Pound sterling Euros
Helly Hansen layered clothing and boots (ALB)
£1,500 €1,668
Drysuit and boots (ILB) £800 €889
Thermal suit (ILB) £230 €256
Lifejacket £336 €374
Helmet £350 €389
Seagoing gloves £25 €30
Balaclava £20 €23
Average training cost per crew member £1,400 €1,557

A D class inshore lifeboat is in the sea with three lifeboat crew members onboard.

Lifeboat Class Pound sterling Euros
Shannon class £2.23M €2.48M
B class £285,000 €317,000
D class £89,000 €99,000
E class £560,000 €762,000
Hovercraft £400,000 €544,000

An RNLI lifeguard wearing her lifeguard kit on the beach.

Kit Cost Euros
Full wetsuit £250  €278
Binoculars £100  €111
Sunglasses £45  €50
Rash vest £60 €67
Swimsuit/trunks £60 €67

An RNLI lifeguard on a rescue watercraft in the sea.

Fleet Cost
Rescue watercraft £10,000
Inshore rescue boat £13,000
Patrol vehicle £24,600
All-terrain vehicle £7,000