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RNLI scoops top IT award

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has won a top IT industry award for the ‘Best Charity Project of the Year’ in recognition of its vital lifesaving work.

UK Industry Awards logo

The British Computer Society

The IT Industry Awards set the performance benchmark in IT

The charity, which saves lives at sea, was crowned winners in the third sector category of the UK IT Industry Awards for its ‘outstanding’ work on a geographic information system (GIS) to help improve the management of its fleet of 460 lifeboats and more than 1,500 lifeguards around the UK and Ireland.

Lead judge and Head of Content and Insight at the British Computer Society, Brian Runciman said: ‘This project boasted a balance between innovation, return on investment, quality of management and impact that alongside its obvious societal benefit made it truly outstanding.’

The cutting-edge mapping system incorporates data showing lifeboats that have been requested to launch, their live position as well as off-service lifeboat stations, with the same information also available for the RNLI’s lifeguard units, giving a real-time and accurate operational picture of its overall lifesaving capability.

This has proved critical during the Covid-19 pandemic allowing the RNLI to maintain its 24/7 lifesaving service by reacting quickly if any lifeboat stations or lifeguard units are taken off-service or involved in extended searches and rescues.

RNLI Lifesaving Operations Room Manager Chris Chambers said: ‘For the RNLI it’s a game changer.

‘It is having a tangible lifesaving benefit by allowing us to manage our lifeboat fleet far more effectively than ever before. It’s a huge step forward.’

RNLI Head of Lifesaving Support Carolyn Bill said: ‘The award is the result of a single vision, involving hard work and commitment across the data and operations room teams to make our GIS/AIS mapping tool a reality.

‘In 2018 there was an aspiration to create a digital solution to identify our lifesaving assets and availability. Now we have a dashboard that enables us to make real-time decisions and can be credited as a milestone in our commitment to safety, wellbeing and improved incident outcomes.

‘The national award was the result of the incredible teamwork. I am so proud of all the operations room staff and data teams for their commitment to the service and each other in enabling us to be recognised outside our own organisation.’


Notes to editors:

· Interviews available.

· The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and Ireland, and they continue to launch to those in peril at sea 24/7 throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

· To donate to the RNLI’s Christmas appeal, go to:

For more information, please contact RNLI National Media Officer Andy Rose on 07976 523794 or email [email protected] Alternatively, contact the press office on 01202 336789 or [email protected]

How the GIS map appears in the RNLI Lifesaving Operations Room


How the GIS map appears in the RNLI Lifesaving Operations Room
Comedian Ed Byrne hosted the awards ceremony
Comedian Ed Byrne hosted the awards ceremony

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.