Ben Fogle backs RNLI appeal urging supporters to opt in to hear from the charity

Lifeboats News Release

From 1 January 2017, the RNLI will be the first major charity to move to an opt in only approach for communicating with its supporters

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has joined forces with the charity’s long-time supporter and well known TV personality Ben Fogle, to create a compelling short film sharing the story of a daring rescue at sea. The collaboration educates RNLI supporters on how sharing stories really does help to save lives.

Driven by the RNLI’s decision to only contact supporters who have opted in from 1 January 2017, these ‘opted in’ supporters and the public will be encouraged to share lifesaving rescue stories with friends and family, which will in turn help the charity save lives by raising awareness and bringing in new supporters. During the film, Ben tells the dramatic story of Simon Haggie, a windsurfer who got caught out in bad weather and lost his sail.

Ben Fogle says: ‘Telling a story is a simple act, but sharing the lifesaving stories of the RNLI can in turn save lives. Why? They help spread the word about the amazing work of RNLI volunteer crews around our coasts, and help recruit new supporters to the charity.

‘I feel honoured to share the incredible rescue story of a man who got into trouble when out at sea windsurfing this summer. Simon had almost given up hope when he was heroically rescued by the RNLI. His wife wrote a heartfelt letter expressing her thanks to the charity for saving his life, helping him to live to see one of his daughters get married, and also to meet his first grandchild, due shortly after he was rescued.’

Sharing stories really does save lives. The RNLI asked more than 700 of their supporters about the impact rescue stories have. Almost three quarters (74%) revealed that it was hearing rescue stories that helped motivate them to become supporters and 70% believe they have helped encourage others to start supporting the RNLI by sharing rescue stories.

Will Stephens, Head of Lifesaving at the RNLI says:

‘We believe that moving to an opt in approach is the right thing to do. The respect and trust of our supporters is of utmost importance to us. By opting in to hear from us, our supporters will continue to hear rescue stories of the lifesaving work carried out by RNLI volunteers every day. Passing on the amazing work that the RNLI carries out has never been more important.’

The RNLI needs its supporters to share stories to help encourage new supporters and ensure the lifesaving work can continue. To opt in, visit the opt-in webpage

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.