Our long-term goals

We must focus our efforts on reaching the remaining people at risk from drowning, but it is not something we can achieve on our own, at home or internationally. In order to save more lives we need to transform how we think, feel and talk about the RNLI.
swim safe lesson in progress

Stacie Nicoll

Swim safe lesson in action

We currently identify ourselves as:
A sea rescue service in the UK and Ireland, presenting ourselves as largely independent of others.

We need to be:
A sea rescue service in the UK and Ireland, with a growing commitment to preventative action, using our expertise to work in partnership locally, nationally and internationally to prevent drowning.

The difference we want to make

In 2019:

  • progress towards a 50% reduction in drowning in the UK and Ireland.
  • declining trend in serious incidents
  • firmly established drowning prevention coalition that advocates effectively for the global cause.

In 2024:

  • a 50% reduction in drowning in the UK and Ireland
  • reduction in serious incidents
  • effective drowning prevention strategies in place in the highest risk areas internationally.

Critical to achieving these goals are the completion on the 25-knot all-weather lifeboat fleet and rollout of the lifeguard service to the remaining beaches that need patrols. All this will be underpinned by our preventative approach of safety and education.

We need to deliver a balanced lifesaving service to educate, supervise, rescue and influence those at risk from drowning. This service needs to be based on reliable data on the local risks, which then informs the activities that will need to be undertaken to provide the appropriate services in the local community, both by the RNLI and in partnership with others.

We will continue to build on our rescue service but will specifically strengthen our coastal safety work to ensure we focus our efforts and resources in the most effective way. We are aware of the resources that will be required to deliver this outcome, the cost of which is reflected in this plan.

Internationally, our focus will be to grow understanding and awareness of the global drowning problem, build a broad international coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), develop successful community interventions and then, with our partners, ensure there is broad evidence of the effectiveness of drowning prevention strategies for at-risk nations.

These activities alone will not be enough to reduce deaths from drowning – we need to be able to work more effectively in coalition with others, identify how we can influence the lifesaving community and, if required, influence those outside this community. We also need to share our knowledge, experience and expertise in a way that is relevant to the local communities where people are drowning.

You can read more about our long-term goals in the RNLI Business Plan.