Donate now

Ramsgate Royal Harbour set to sparkle this Christmas in support of the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A spectacular show of Christmas decorations will cast their light over Ramsgate Royal Harbour this December to raise money for the RNLI.

RNLI lifeboat from the relief fleet dressed it in Christmas lights

Ramsgate Illuminations

RNLI lifeboat from the relief fleet dressed in Christmas lights

For more than 10 years local businesses and boat owners have come together to put on the Ramsgate Christmas Illuminations to raise money for Ramsgate RNLI and celebrate the Christmas spirit.

The charity's lifesavers are prepared to launch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and Christmas is no different. Each year RNLI volunteers are ready to face the cold and leave their loved ones behind to answer the call, including the crew at Ramsgate RNLI.

But these rescues wouldn’t be possible without the kind donations which fund the kit, training, and equipment, so the community in Ramsgate has found a brilliant way to help the lifeboat crew out. Each December, local businesses and boat owners get together to light up the Royal Harbour with festive lights to raise money for Ramsgate RNLI.

The Harbour Illuminations has grown gradually, and from a small initiative, it has become one of the most anticipated events of the year, attracting television coverage worldwide and people from all over Kent and beyond.

Karen Cox, Ramsgate volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, said: ‘Packed with crafts of all sizes, the harbour has been the home of Ramsgate Lifeboat Station since 1802, which is situated on the Western Crosswall.

‘Occasionally we have a RNLI lifeboat from the relief fleet based in the harbour and the crew moor it on the harbour and dress it in brilliant Christmas lights. Also, there have been years when the crew toured the inner harbour with Santa to the delight of the people gathered around.

‘The station has only had its own lifeboat here this year which we have to keep ready to launch, so they won’t be able to light it up for the illuminations. Instead, they’ll light up the station with wonderful decorations.

‘So if you come down to Ramsgate this December, the illuminations and the lifeboat are a must-see in town.’

The event is organised by the Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate Marina Association and Ramsgate Town Team, and supported with funding from the Town Council and Ramsgate Town Team, which helps purchase the lights. The ornaments are then given to the boat owners who cover their vessels with Christmas lights for visitors to enjoy.

The shops around the harbour also volunteer to get involved in the event and they cover the funding of the lights themselves. The dazzling displays bring business to the town. The local shops give vouchers to the boat owners who lit up their vessels and pledge a donation per lit boat to Ramsgate RNLI.

Martin Morgans, Commodore of the Royal Temple Yacht Club, explains: ‘Each year we have the night of the illuminations judging and based on the total number of boats that lit up in the Harbour, the businesses who contributed with a pledge, get to make their final donations.

‘Last year we had a record number of 84 boats, so that means every single shop that pledged, whatever they pledged, whether it was a pound or 10p per boat, paid 84 times the pledge. And that is the pot of donations that was given to the Ramsgate RNLI at the end.’

‘On the prize night, The Yacht Club donates the space and lays a buffet, and everyone who participated in the Illuminations Fundraising Event gets to come to celebrate. The organisers give out awards and small prizes to the best yacht, best powerboat, best barge, and best arch. This year among the judges who will decide the awards is the Mayor.’

‘It’s important to remember that the people who light their boats don’t do it for any other reason than they want the harbour to look splendid. And it does. We’ve been featured all around the world, even in Australia.’


The RNLI encourage those visiting coastal areas this Christmas to:

  • Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.
  • If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash around.
  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Over the past five years, RNLI lifeboats in the South East have launched 188 times during the festive period. Last Christmas (24 December 2021–1 January 2022), RNLI lifeboat crews across the South East saved the lives of four people, the highest number recorded in five years. The charity’s volunteer crews also aided 46 people during the 2021 festive period, which is the highest number recorded since 2017.

But these rescues would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round.

The RNLI is launching its Christmas appeal, as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving work at sea.

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: RNLI.org/Xmas

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • Ramsgate is one of the oldest lifeboat stations in the British Isles. During its lifesaving history, the crews have been presented with over 50 awards for gallantry. To learn more about the lifeboat station please follow this link

  • The Christmas period refers to 24 December to 1 January

  • The five-year period is from 2017 to 2021

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Julie Rainey, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 07827 358256 or email [email protected] or Paul Dunt, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 0778 5296252 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected].

RNLI online

For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the RNLI News Centre.

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.

Various boats part of the Ramsgate Illuminations events. Lights cast their shine over the water

Ramsgate Illuminations

Ramsgate Royal Harbour
Various boats and buildings part of the Ramsgate Illuminations events. Lights cast their shine over the sky

Ramsgate Illuminations

Ramsgate Royal Harbour
Various boats part of the Ramsgate Illuminations events. Lights cast their shine over the water

RNLI/Steve Burton

Boats at Ramsgate Royal Harbour in Christmas lights
Ramsgate crew touring the inner harbour with Santa who is waving at the crowd

RNLI/Steve Burton

Ramsgate crew touring the inner harbour with Santa
Arch dressed in lights and Christmas trees

Ramsgate Illuminations

Arch dressed in lights and Christmas trees

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.