Crew members onboard Lowestoft Shannon class lifeboat Reg 13-07 in extremely rough weather and snow blizzards.Crew wearing new Helly Hansen kit.

What is Mayday?

Mayday is the RNLI’s annual fundraiser that raises money for vital crew kit. Get involved and help keep our crews safe this Mayday!

Swanage RNLI crew member reaching out towards a casualty in the water from the station’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat

Why kit matters

When our brave volunteer crews answer the call for help, they don’t know what they’ll be facing. Huge waves, storms, darkness … They need to be prepared for anything. Having the right kit can make the difference between life and death – for them and the people they rescue.

Our £700,000/€780,000** target in 2019 could buy all of this:

117 layered clothing and boots*

651 HELMETS

410 lifejackets

7,502 pairs of gloves

*Kit costs are correct as of December 2017 and are based on the recommended retail price (RRP). We always seek to obtain the best price for all kit and equipment. Where possible we will negotiate a lower cost, so may not always pay the full RRP.

**Any funds raised over our £700,000/€780,000 target will go towards funding our lifesaving work around the UK and Ireland. 

When a rogue wave capsized Blackpool RNLI’s D class inshore lifeboat, throwing Crew Members Kyle, Simon and Daz into the water, their protective kit came into its own.

The crew were fighting force 7 winds and 2–3m swells to rescue somebody in difficulty in the water when the lifeboat suddenly capsized.

Simon says: 'Our boat did a back flip, bow over stern. Kyle and I had been at the front so we were thrown out and up into the air. Daz the helm had been at the back so found himself under the boat.'

'We went up like a kite,' agrees Kyle. 'I could feel the lifeboat flutter like a mattress on the air. It felt like we were falling for a long time and then under water for at least a minute – but it was only a few seconds.

'A breaking wave pushed the boat into me and nearly knocked me out. If it wasn’t for the helmet, I wouldn’t be here.

'I took out a flare to let the other lifeboat know we needed them. A big wave came and swamped us as I took it out, but it worked perfectly despite being underwater.'

It was too dangerous to right the boat, so Simon pulled Kyle away. Simon adds: 'Our lifejackets are inherently buoyant so we were kept afloat. I held on to the grab handle at the back of Kyle's lifejacket and didn’t let go.

'Going through the pier was not the nicest thing. Good job we had the helmets - we kept hitting the tops of our heads on the metal bars. They saved us from serious injury.'

Alerted by Kyle's flare, Blackpool’s second D class lifeboat launched to pick them up on the other side of the pier. Kyle, Simon and Daz were all back out on the water a week later. And the stranger person in difficulty they were originally called out to help? A false alarm with good intent.

Kitting out an inshore lifeboat crew member like Kyle costs £2,161 – including the helmet that he says saved his life. This Mayday, will you help raise money for the lifesaving kit our crews depend upon?