Why seeing yellow in London will help save lives on the Thames
More than a hundred volunteers wearing the distinctive yellow rescue kit of the RNLI will be taking to the streets, stations and offices of London next Tuesday (30 April) to raise vital funds for the charity’s four lifeboat stations along the Thames.
London Lifeboat Day takes place just once a year and this year’s collection is of particular significance as it marks the 30th anniversary of the Marchioness disaster which saw 51 lives lost on the river in the early hours of 20 August 1989. It was as a result of the enquiry into the tragedy that the RNLI launched a rescue service on the Thames on 2 January 2002.
Following the enquiry’s recommendations RNLI stations were set up at Teddington, Chiswick, Waterloo Bridge (Tower Lifeboat Station) and Gravesend. Since then RNLI lifeboats have launched 13,793 times, saved 567 lives and aided 9,460 people. The four stations launched 1,022 times last year alone, making them some of the busiest in the country.
As well as our full-time helms, who work shifts and sleep on station, our lifeboats rely on the bravery and commitment of our volunteers who come from an astonishing diversity of backgrounds. They leave their day jobs and their families to volunteer for a 12-hour shift, prepared to attend any incident to which they’re tasked. Our London crews are ready to respond to emergencies in a matter of seconds.
Like our other 234 RNLI stations around the UK and Ireland, our London stations are funded by donations. We keep our crews kitted and our boats afloat using the generous contributions from members of the public. The RNLI was founded in 1824 so our Thames stations are relatively new in service, but we’re committed to saving the lives of Londoners for generations to come.
You can give to RNLI collectors in bright yellow kit around the city on Tuesday 30 April or donate online at RNLI.org/LondonLifeboatDay. Please give generously and help keep our lifeboats afloat.
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, in a normal year, 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.