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Contribution rules

If you wish to contribute content to any RNLI website or within any of our services you must comply with the following Rules, in addition to our general website Terms & Conditions.

If you wish to contribute content to any RNLI website or within any of our services (such as E-cards or ‘Tell a friend’ emails) you must comply with the following Rules, in addition to our general website Terms & Conditions, which you must also read. If you are under 18 please get the permission of a parent/guardian before contributing to our websites.

In these Rules, 'Contributions' refer to any content posted or submitted by users of our websites and social media pages including, amongst other things messages, stories, comments, suggestions, emails, photos, images or videos.

We do not monitor and are not responsible for Contributions posted to or sent from our websites. Please remember that these Contributions express the views of the author of the Contribution, not the views of the RNLI. Any user who feels that a Contribution is objectionable is encouraged to contact us immediately as we are reliant upon users to point out any Contributions which infringe these Rules. You can use the flag a comment link or email the RNLI digital team with 'Flag a comment' in the subject line . In both cases you need to provide:

  • Your name, company or organisation name if relevant, contact details (both a land address, telephone number and email)
  • Details of the exact content complained of and details of why you are complaining about that content
  • Confirmation from you that the information you have provided is accurate, complete and not misleading

Once an infringing Contribution has been brought to our attention we have the ability to remove that Contribution and we will make every effort to do so, within a reasonable time frame, if we determine that removal is necessary. 

Your rights and responsibilities

You are required to register an appropriate user name before you can post any Contributions to our websites. You are responsible for all Contributions posted or transmitted under your user name and password or through your email address, whether by you or anyone else. Please don't disclose your password to anybody. If your password has been obtained by someone else, you must let us know immediately.

By posting material, you are confirming that the material is not in breach of these Rules.

You must not post or transmit to or from any of our websites or social media pages (nor within your post link to) any material:

  • Which is knowingly false or misleading 
  • Which is defamatory (defamatory content is a statement which is false and which may harm the person or organisation it is about)
  • Which is illegal, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, liable to incite racial hatred, blasphemous, discriminatory, pornographic, sexually oriented, threatening or invasive of a person's privacy
  • Which you do not own or for which you have not obtained all necessary licences and/or approvals 
  • Which contains viruses or malware or is otherwise technically harmful
  • Soliciting names, addresses or phone numbers from minors for any purpose
  • Impersonating any person or any entity, or falsely stating or otherwise misrepresenting your affiliation with anyone or any entity
  • Which has the purpose or effect of disrupting discussions, causing inconvenience or annoyance to other contributors or site users. Examples include:
               1) Making comments of no relevance to the story or topic commented against
               2) Spamming, i.e. creating essentially identical messages in different stories or topics
  • Which is incompatible with the RNLI’s charitable objects and policies
  • Which we consider at our sole discretion has the effect or intent of bringing the RNLI, any of our websites or any of our campaigns into disrepute

Please keep things civil

We welcome comments on the stories and topics submitted by others, but please keep comments civil and polite. Of course it is ok to disagree with someone else’s Contribution, but please keep comments constructive and objective. Please:-

  • Respect other contributors and treat them as you would wish to be treated in return. Assume that they start with positive intentions and are every bit as intelligent and informed as you are
  • Be open to other peoples’ views and beliefs, and respect their right to hold views that are different from yours
  • Don’t get personal. Comment on what other contributors say, but avoid commenting on the person
  • Don't use sarcasm – it often doesn’t work in written communications
  • Don’t use abusive or inflammatory language which is likely to cause distress to other users
  • Don’t use offensive user names, or user names that impersonate another person including other users, or a user name that is defamatory to another person

If you come across an argument between contributors which seems to be getting out of control, resist joining in and instead please let us know by using the flag a comment link or email us with “Flag a comment” in the subject line.

Protecting other peoples’ privacy

You must not:

  • Copy large amounts of other user’s posts and store or transmit them to other sites, by whatever means, without their permission
  • Disclose private or personal matters concerning any person, including personal addresses or phone numbers
  • Reveal what appears to be personal information about another contributor that would identify them in the real world and which they have not otherwise made public online, including by posting links or URLs to any area that would reveal such information
  • Attempt to get a password, account information or other information from anyone else 
  • Reveal email addresses not made public online by a contributor by connecting them to a known screen name used for posting
  • Post photographs or videos of individuals without their consent.

 If you do post or transmit the above material you may find that you are also in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. 

Advertising and soliciting business

Unless you have our written consent to do so, you must not use any of our websites or social media pages to:- 

  • Advertise or offer to sell any commercial product or service, including by posting your own commercial contact details (e.g. address, email address, phone numbers or website address)
  • Solicit names and addresses or other personal information for commercial purposes 

You must not use your access to our websites or social media pages, or information gathered from them, to send unsolicited bulk email (spam). 

The above lists are not exhaustive and we reserve the right to prohibit any conduct or material that we believe may be harmful to any of our contributors, users or any individual, company or organisation.

Avoiding problems

You will be personally liable for any material you post or transmit to or from our websites and social media pages. Remember that children may access and view our websites and social media pages. Please ensure that the content that you put on these sites is not inappropriate for young people to view.   

Posting or emailing certain types of material can result in:

  • Criminal liability, e.g. harassment or incitement of racial hatred 
  • A claim for damages against you by a company or individual, e.g. if you use copyright material or a trade mark without authority or you make a defamatory statement. Make sure that any statement that you make about an individual or organisation can be backed up with clear facts.

Be original - Don’t post any material unless you created it yourself or you have permission to do so and don’t plagiarise other people’s work. If you are going to make reference to the work of others or take quotes from other people’s work ensure that you have permission from the person to do so and that the author is adequately referenced.

Please remember that if you add any content to our discussion forums or social media pages, that content may be available for others to view on a worldwide basis. Please don’t make any personal information about yourself or others available on these sites unless you are sure you and they are happy to have it made public. 

We recommend that you don’t include your email address in any content you post to our websites or social media pages, unless you really want to receive junk email. 

Breach of the Rules: Action we may take

Breach of either the letter or the spirit of these Rules may result in (amongst other things) any of the following action being taken, as determined by us at our complete discretion and in some cases without prior notice:

  • Written warning to the contributor 
  • Removal of Contributions from the site (both the Contribution in question and possibly also any other Contributions by the same contributor) 
  • Request to the contributor to edit a Contribution 
  • Edit of a Contribution by us 
  • Temporary suspension of access to contribute content to our websites and social media pages 
  • Permanent termination of access to contribute content to our websites and social media pages 
  • Report to the appropriate authorities 
  • Legal proceedings  

Any person whose access has been suspended or whose registration has been terminated must not re-register as a contributor to any of our websites or social media pages without our prior consent.

We shall be entitled to reveal your identity (or any information which we have about you) in the event of a:

  • Complaint or legal action; or 
  • Request from law enforcement authorities

arising from any Contribution or other action by you.  

Removing Contributions 

To keep our websites up-to-date and relevant, from time to time we may remove Contributions.  We may also remove any discussion or topic that becomes extremely off subject, limited to a small group for the purposes of exclusive chat, or is otherwise contrary to the ethos of our website or these Rules.  

If you have any questions or comments about these Rules please contact us.


These Contribution Rules may be updated from time to time. Therefore, it is important that you check these Rules each time you wish to add a contribution to our website. 

These Contribution Rules were last updated: 21 December 2011.