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A female crew member onboard a lifeboat at sea wearing RNLI crew kit. She is joined by a fellow male volunteer and they are looking over the horizon together on a sunny day with blue sky.

Meet our lifeboat station volunteers

Lifeboat crew members operate the lifeboats during rescues and are responsible for their safety and the safety of those they rescue. Their lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous.

Our crews respond at a moment's notice when their pagers go off. They give up their time and comfort to save lives at sea and are regularly called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As well as going out on rescues, crew members also commit to regular training afloat and onshore, and additional specialist training.

Shore crew provide a vital link in the chain, by launching and recovering the lifeboat, and making sure it is ready for the next call.

Most lifeboat crew members are volunteers. We have over 5,600 crew members and over 3,700 shore crew (including station management) from all walks of life, around the UK and Ireland, around 12% of whom are women.

Whilst our operational volunteers give their time freely to help save lives, the RNLI does make some payments to recognise the cost and disruption that this can cause.

To ensure they are not out of pocket, these volunteers can claim necessary expenses and, in specific cases, a contribution for lost wages, such as when attending a residential training course.

The RNLI also, in certain circumstances, may make a fixed payment where there is a shortage of specific skills, such as maintaining and operating our increasingly technical lifeboats.

Trearddur Bay RNLI Lifeboat Helm Steve Rogerson
Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Helm Steve Rogerson
Being part of a lifeboat family is ‘one of the best feelings you can have’.
Meet Steve
Wexford RNLI Lifeboat Helm Lorraine Galvin
Wexford Lifeboat Helm Lorraine Galvin
'When my pager goes off my daughter says: “We have to hurry mummy, someone's in trouble!”’
Meet Lorraine