Mayday! RNLI calls for supporters to take part in the Mayday Mile

Lifeboats News Release

Today, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has released its rescue figures for 2021, revealing its lifeboat crews and lifeguards saved 408 lives in total last year. That’s more than one life saved every day, and 59 more than the previous year.


RNLI lifesavers carry out the first Mayday Mile of 2022 on Southend Pier

The data – captured between January 2021 and December 2021 – highlighted an increase in demand for the charity’s lifeboat service, with 8,868 lifeboat launches and 12,903 people helped by RNLI lifeboat crews over the course of the last year - the equivalent of 35 people aided each day.

With demand for its lifesaving services at a high, the charity is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging the public to take part in the Mayday Mile. All money raised will help to provide the vital training and equipment that is needed to keep their lifesavers safe, while they risk their own lives to save others.

Whether you choose to walk, jog, hop or skip, the Mayday Mile challenges you to cover at least one mile in any way you like between Saturday 1 and Tuesday 31 May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

To officially launch this year’s Mayday Mile fundraiser, on Thursday 21 April four RNLI lifeboat crew members will carry out the first Mayday Mile of 2022 along Southend Pier – the longest leisure pier in the UK at 1.3 miles long – whilst wearing their lifesaving kit.

With Southend being the busiest coastal lifeboat station in the UK and Ireland, launching 147 times in 2021, the RNLI crew members hope that their Mayday Mile will bring to life the importance of the charity’s lifesaving work and inspire people to sign up to the challenge themselves.

Pete Emmett, Head of Engagement at the RNLI, said: “The RNLI has been saving lives at sea for almost 200 years. We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people around the UK and Ireland needing our help over the last year, and we are so proud that our brave lifesavers have been there to save them. But running a 24/7 lifesaving emergency service is expensive – and costs are rising – which is why we’re calling on people to support our lifesavers.

Every Mayday Mile completed will help give our lifesavers everything they need to continue to keep people safe this summer – and beyond. It’s so easy to get involved, and to have fun whilst saving lives - last year we saw miles covered on climbing walls, space hoppers, paddleboards and wearing wellies filled with baked beans! We hope to see many more people take up the fundraising challenge this year.”

Jack Lidster-Woolf, Volunteer Crew Member at Southend RNLI, said: It’s so easy to get into danger by the water – the crew and I see first hand the serious situations that people find themselves in, and where a few minutes could make all the difference. Keeping the crew ready for anything takes training, equipment and kit – all things that your Mayday Mile could help to provide.

I hope that RNLI supporters are inspired by our Mayday Mile today to sign up themselves – it really does help us to keep saving lives at sea.”

The Mayday Mile will be running from Saturday 1 May to Tuesday 31 May. Sign up and find out more at today.

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.