Donate now

RNLI supports global lifesaving leaders from across the world

Lifeboats News Release

Drowning prevention experts from across the globe came to Poole last week to take part in the RNLI’s Leaders in Lifesaving course.

Fifteen candidates from eight countries attended the course, run at the charity’s college in Poole.

Since 2012, over 100 delegates from more than 40 organisations around the world have participated.

The RNLI developed the intensive course in response to requests for assistance from lifesaving organisations across the world.

Dave Whiddon, Senior International Programme Manager at the RNLI, said: ‘We believe that our vision for global drowning prevention cannot be achieved without strong, effective local and national organisations capable of tackling the problem in their own communities and countries.

‘To be successful and sustainable, organisations don’t just need to deliver lifesaving services, but to have good leadership and management. This is at the heart of the RNLI’s Leaders in Lifesaving course.’

Selpha Onsongo, a search and rescue officer from the Kenyan Maritime Authority, who attended this year, said: ‘I have been so inspired by the passion everyone on the course has displayed. It’s been great to learn from one another and I have taken away a lot of leadership skills. My take home is the ability to service my community more effectively through the skills and confidence I have gained here.

‘There is a real difference in culture – I did not realise that the RNLI crews are volunteers, that is very different to my country. It’s been inspiring to hear of brave crews happily carrying out their roles and duties in the community as volunteers.

‘Our search and rescue is a free service, so I wonder if we can replicate this on a smaller scale at home.

‘I’d really like to thank the RNLI for providing this opportunity to help us all become better in keeping people safe.’

In the course, RNLI trainers provide sessions in leading yourself, leading your teams, and leading your organisation.

Other sessions with RNLI staff members were tailored to the individual needs of the participants and the organisations they represent based on areas of focus they have chosen before they arrive.

The course is contributing to a growing body of expertise in developing countries and an online community, through which participants continue to connect, learn and share with each other.

This month, the RNLI, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) are hosting a workshop on community-based rescue and resuscitation for drowning in Pune, India.

The workshop brings together lifesaving institutions from 14 countries including Cambodia, the Philippines and Brazil.

The RNLI will also be meeting with the British High Commission in India during October to discuss drowning prevention.

Notes to editors

Delegates attended Leaders in Lifesaving from the following organisations:

  • Kenya Maritime Authority

  • Monserrat Fire and Rescue Service

  • Royal Monserrat Police Service (Marine Unit)

  • Anguilla Fire and Rescue

  • Direction de la Mer Martinique

  • British Virgin Island Fire & Rescue Service

  • Tanzania Marine Police College

  • Tanzania Fire Service (Mwanza)

  • Tanzania Disaster Management office

  • Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation

  • Sierra Leone Maritime Administration

  • Royal Moroccan Navy

  • RNLI

Selpha Onsongo at the RNLI college

RNLI/Richard Adams

Selpha Onsongo at the RNLI college
Participants of Leaders in Lifesaving

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Participants of Leaders in Lifesaving

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.