Are you ready to give it some welly and answer the RNLI’s Mayday call?

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is calling on people across the South West to support their brave volunteer lifeboat crews as Mayday, the charity’s national annual fundraising campaign, is launched.

RNLI/Emma Haines

The RNLI's yellow welly relay arrives in Cornwall

Beginning on Monday 1 May – the May Day bank holiday – and running for the whole month of May, the RNLI’s Mayday campaign is calling on people to ‘do their bit, fund our kit’ with the lifesaving charity hoping to raise £750,000 to fund the crucial kit volunteer crews rely on, like lifejackets, helmets and the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.

As part of the fundraising events RNLI crews and volunteers are preparing to hold a Station to Station Yellow Welly Relay. Starting in Portishead a yellow welly will be transported around the entire South West coast in many different ways before finishing at Harwich on the South East coast.

Local crews are making their own arrangements for how the welly will be transported to their neighbouring crew. They are already coming up with creative ideas to make their local handover stand out. The welly will be transported through Clovelly village on a sledge on Thursday May 4th and then from Port Isaac to Newquay by rib the following day.

The RNLI Mayday Welly Relay team will keep you updated on the event and what is going to be happening in your area!

Michael England, Padstow RNLI mechanic and Deputy Second Coxswain, said: ‘RNLI volunteer crew members are willing to drop everything to go and save lives at sea when their pagers beep. Our lifeboat crew kit is absolutely vital when we’re out in all weathers saving lives at sea.

‘Last year, RNLI crews launched 8,851 times and saved 431 lives. The Mayday campaign is our own call for help and we’re asking people to do their bit to fund our kit throughout May.

‘There are all sorts of ways to raise money for Mayday. From wearing wellies to work or doing a sponsored welly walk, to holding a bake sale or doing a sponsored cycle ride. Anyone can register for a free fundraising pack by visiting’

With 4,800 volunteer lifeboat crew members providing a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts, money raised through Mayday will help kit out RNLI crews so they’re ready to face the harshest conditions at sea. It costs £1,593 to provide an all-weather [LB1] lifeboat crew member with all of the vital kit they need during a rescue.

Anyone who wants to get involved should visit to register for a free Mayday pack. The webpage also contains some great fundraising ideas and provides a list of Mayday fundraising events taking place – many of which have a yellow welly theme.

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[LB1]£1,881 for inshore lifeboat crew member

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.