The brave volunteers of the RNLI have been saving lives at sea since 1824. Across the years many things have changed, but the courage and commitment of our lifesavers has continued to the present day, as we work towards our goal of saving every one.
The story of the RNLI is one of courage and dedication. Across our almost 200 year history, RNLI lifesavers have answered the call to rescue. Day or night. On calm seas or into ferocious storms. If someone is in peril at sea, the RNLI will do all we can to save them.
Since the charity launched its first lifeboat in 1824, the RNLI has saved 143,900 lives at sea.
Take a look back at some of the major milestones in the story of the RNLI. Read stories of incredible courage and heartbreaking tragedy, and learn about some of the many lifesaving innovations the RNLI has pioneered across its history.
2024 sees the RNLI celebrate 200 years of saving lives at sea and we have lots of exciting things lined up to commemorate this milestone. Take a look at what we have planned and find out how you can get involved in the celebrations.
With courage, nothing is impossible
Contact our heritage team
Have a question about the history of the RNLI? Want to learn more about a specific lifeboat, rescue or lifesaver? Or have a piece of memorabilia that you want to share with us? The RNLI's heritage team are ready to answer your questions.