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London lifeboat crew to feature in Eastenders anniversary special

Lifeboats News Release

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew from stations at Tower, Teddington and Chiswick join the cast of Eastenders to be part of their 35th anniversary special.

A week of dramatic episodes involving a boat party on the Thames will also feature the charity’s lifesavers, as they demonstrate their rescue skills when someone gets into trouble in the water.

The RNLI has had a presence on the Thames since 2002 and in that time has launched 14,906 times, saved 580 lives, and aided 4,994 people.[1] .Gravesend RNLI joins Tower, Teddington and Chiswick to make up the fourth lifeboat station which operates in London and out into the estuary.

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea and relies on donations to operate and continue to provide a lifesaving service.

Kevin Maynard, Station Manager at Tower RNLI, said: ‘People are often surprised to hear that there are lifeboats on the Thames, and even more surprised when they learn that Tower RNLI is the busiest of the charity’s 238 lifeboat stations.

‘When we started the lifeboat service on the Thames on 2 January 2002, we anticipated a hundred or so call-outs or so every year on the Thames. Last year at Tower RNLI alone, we launched six times that number, which highlights how important having lifeboats on the Thames is, with the four lifeboat stations having assisted nearly 5,000 people since 2002.’

Tower Lifeboat Station is the busiest of the RNLI’s 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, launching 624 times in 2018 alone. Tower RNLI, Chiswick RNLI and Gravesend RNLI are all crewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by full-time helms who work on shifts.

All of the Thames lifeboat stations rely on the bravery and commitment of volunteers, with Teddington RNLI crewed entirely by volunteers who operate on a pager system.

With lifeboats specially designed by the charity’s in-house engineers for saving lives on the Thames, the RNLI’s lifeboat crews are able to respond to an emergency in a matter of seconds.


Notes to editor:

  • Interviews available on request with lifeboat crew from our London stations
  • [1] Stats correct as of 5 August 2019

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789, [email protected].


Tower RNLI's E class lifeboat on the Thames


Chiswick RNLI's E class lifeboat on the Thames


Teddington RNLI's D class lifeboat on the Thames

Jason Arthur


Teddington RNLI lifeboat crew on a call out

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.