Those Romans have a lot to answer for

Lifeboats News Release

We have got this all wrong. Who, given freedom of choice, would choose to celebrate a Happy New Year in January?


RNLI Rye Harbour welcomes the New Year

January is an appalling month. It is baleful and spiteful and can be bloody-minded. It is cold and dank and as a harbinger of jolly times to come it is about as apt as an air-raid siren.

On New Year’s Eve do you see squirrels prancing around in colourful hats? Do you see badgers with bagpipes? You don’t, because all sensible creatures are curled up safe and snug dreaming bright dreams awaiting the arrival of the REAL New Year in four months’ time.

This is the only civilized time to welcome in the New Year. Do you know why we are stuck with January? It’s the fault of the Romans. They used to start their new year in March. Typically, they had stolen their calendar from the Etruscans, and it was all fine until about 153 BC when some hair-brained Roman discovered that January was named after the god of doorways: Janus. The next thing you know they had made January the beginning of the year.

So from all of us at RNLI Rye Harbour we wish you safe sailings and fair winds as the doorway to 2021 opens. Keep safe and perhaps hibernate until March when the world may be a happier and safer place to be. The New Year is a powerful occasion: a time to reflect on our gratitude for the past and our hopes for the future. Being part of the wider RNLI family we know that we all move forward together with help and support offered from all our flank stations and beyond. All across our 238 lifeboat stations, people are looking forward to welcoming 2021 and saying goodbye to the challenging year that was 2020. Keep safe and strong and together we will forge ahead to make 2021 a better year.

A big thank you to all the RNLI volunteers who have worked so tirelessly to keep our boats afloat, in good order and all those who are on standby 24/7 to SAVE LIVES AT SEA


Happy new year to all our 238 lifeboat stations

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 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 by email.