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RNLI’s spiritual home finalises plans to mark World Drowning Prevention Day

Lifeboats News Release

An array of activity will take place this month across the Isle of Man – the birthplace of the RNLI.


The Douglas Tower of Refuge will turn blue later this month

The highlight will be famous landmarks, including the 3km length of Douglas promenade turning blue on 25 July to mark efforts across the world to end the preventable loss of life through drowning.

World Drowning Prevention Day was created through a UN resolution on drowning prevention in 2021, acknowledging the issue for the first time in its 75-year history. On the Isle of Man, landmarks including the Tower of Refuge, City Hall and Douglas Promenade will turn blue to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities across the world. An estimated 236,000 people drown every year.

Tomorrow’s Tynwald Day will mark the beginning of activity where the RNLI will have a presence offering information about its lifesaving work and promoting safety advice.

On the 25th, the RNLI will be in the main shopping area in Douglas offering vital sea safety advice to locals and visitors.

Events will take place throughout the weekend, many of which will mark the significance of the Tower of Refuge which was built by RNLI founder Sir William Hillary 190 years ago. On Saturday 23 July, the Douglas RNLI crew will take part in the local carnival and will be highlighting a piece of artwork which celebrates the history of the Tower of Refuge.

On the Sunday, the Mayor of Douglas City will be having Tea on the Tower which has been organised by Douglas RNLI.

Peter Washington, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager for Douglas says:

‘The RNLI was founded in Douglas and it’s absolutely vital for us to mark and celebrate the role of our volunteers in saving lives at sea as we gear up for our 200th anniversary. By going blue for World Drowning Prevention Day, we’re not only celebrating lives saved, but also marking the profound effect of drowning and pledging to continue striving to end the preventable loss of loss through drowning.’

The RNLI is also working hard to help save lives overseas thanks to an Isle of Man Government grant specifically allocated to fund international development projects. The grant from the Isle of Man Government’s International Development Fund is helping the charity to save lives from drowning in some of the hardest hit countries.

In 2019 the RNLI received a small grant which meant that over 10,000 children aged six to 10 in rural Bangladesh successfully completed a survival swimming course. And now the RNLI has been awarded a second small grant from the Isle of Man Government to help keep even more children safe from drowning in Bangladesh in 2022 and 2023. In the Barishal Division, where eight children drown every day, Isle of Man funding will help keep up to 1,200 children aged 1-4 safe in community-run creches.

The Isle of Man Government has a long tradition of providing assistance to those in need and has been funding international development projects for more than three decades. The RNLI will use the small grant in aid of our vision to save every one.

Mr Washington adds:

‘People across the world are still drowning and our belief is that no one should. This day will give us an opportunity not only to celebrate the work of our dedicated volunteers but also help us to aid awareness and encourage people to know what to do should they get into trouble. We will use this increased awareness to educate people about the Respect The Water campaign so everyone knows exactly what to do if they find themselves of others in trouble in the water.

‘We have a proud tradition of lifesaving on the island and an incredible amount of support as a charity not only run by volunteers but also supported by charitable donations. I hope people enjoy the events on offer which we hope will showcase our proud history and heritage.’


Notes to Editors

· This WDPD, the RNLI is supporting the National Water Safety Forum’s campaign: Respect the Water. This campaign aims to raise awareness of what to do if you see someone struggling in the water.

· The World Health Organisation has more information about the day, including resources:

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales and the North West on 07886 668829. Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected].


The length of Douglas promenade will turn blue on 25 July


The village creche which keeps children safe and occupied

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.

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