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The RNLI’s iconic Mayday yellow welly mug is heading to Antarctica

Lifeboats News Release

An RNLI Mayday yellow welly mug has made its way onto the RRS Sir David Attenborough ship which will make its third venture to Antarctica later this year.

The RNLI’s iconic Mayday mug onboard the Sir David Attenborough

RNLI/Michael Gloistein

The RNLI’s iconic Mayday mug onboard the Sir David Attenborough
On Saturday 3 June 2023, Sheringham RNLI volunteer Shore Crew and Tractor Driver Rachel had the honour of being invited onboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough (SDA) Research Vessel.

The ship’s arrival in Harwich, Essex, marked the end of its second season of operation in Antarctica, a long seven-month journey.

Rachel said: ‘Whilst the RRS Sir David Attenborough was in Harwich, a lucky few of us were invited onboard to see the ship in all its glory by the Electronics Officer Michael Gloistein.’

Michael Gloistein’s role as the Electronics Officer on board the Sir David Attenborough involves looking after all the electronics on the bridge including the radar, communications and dynamic positioning.

For his work, Michael was awarded the Polar Medal in 2004 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, presented to him by the then Prince Charles. Furthermore, on 7 June this year, Micheal was honoured to have been presented a letter advising that he now has a place in Antarctica named after him, the Gloistein Skerries located off Coronation Island, part of the South Orkney Islands.

Michael said: ‘Those who I invited to visit the ship on 3 June were some of my social media followers that I managed to work out were from or around the area.

‘I chose to invite people onto the ship because it is a British asset, and I am proud to show her [the ship] off. I saw it as a bit like inviting people into your home.’

Rachel made the trip from Sheringham as she described it as ‘one of those not-to-be-missed opportunities that come along every so often in life’.

She saw everything from the gallery, pantry, engine and winch rooms to the bridge, science labs, helicopter and observation decks.

Rachel added: ‘Three hours and many very curious questions later we disembarked. It was a fabulous evening and we even managed to see a stunning sunset from the bridge and the strawberry full moon rise.

‘Quite honestly it was a privilege to be invited and a fascinating insight into the research vessel. It was definitely one of those opportunities in life you don't refuse.

‘I took one of the RNLI’s Mayday yellow welly mugs with me during my visit to the RRS Sir David Attenborough to give to Michael as a ‘thank you’ for the invitation. He seemed rather chuffed with it and the next morning had a coffee on the bridge in it. It felt like the right token of my appreciation and a way of Michael remembering me, given my links to the sea through volunteering in the RNLI.’

Michael confirmed the ship is due to head back to Antarctica later this year to carry out both scientific research and logistics at their bases during the summer months when the ice conditions are ‘more favourable’.

Michael said: ‘Our bases in Antarctica rely on regular visits by the RRS Sir David Attenborough to keep them supplied for the coming year and to assist moving personnel.

‘When the ship departs from the UK to head back south in October this year, it will sail directly to the Falkland Islands where it is registered and from then will continue its journey towards Antarctica.

‘I will be sailing the ship to the Falklands and then heading home to rejoin in the new year in Punta Arenas, Chile, when we will mobilise with scientists for an exciting science cruise into the Weddell Sea.

‘The RNLI Mayday mug Rachel kindly gifted to me will remain on the bridge for others to enjoy during my leave periods.

‘Getting the RNLI mug from Rachel was lovely. Morning and afternoon ‘smoko’ are our main tea breaks and I always have mine on the ship’s bridge to enjoy the views.’

Inspired by an important piece of crew kit, the yellow welly is a staple of the RNLI. It celebrates the charity’s annual Mayday fundraiser that helps supply crews with the intensive training and hard-wearing kit they need to use in emergencies and to save lives at sea.

Micheal added: ‘The team that I work with has links to the RNLI as two members have previously worked for the charity at Harwich and Holyhead.’

The RNLI is reliant on the generous donations of the public to power its lifesaving work that aided over 38,000 people last year.

To purchase a Mayday yellow welly mug or to show your support of the RNLI, please visit All proceeds go towards funding the busy work that the crews carry out in order to keep people safe while visiting the beach or out on the water. Every purchase helps to save lives at sea.

To mark the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, the charity has recently launched a new retail range on the RNLI Shop. From t-shirts, commemorative silver-plated pin badges, dog bandanas, Christmas baubles, mugs and a cuddly toy, you can now grab your merchandise and join in with the celebrations of 200 years of the RNLI.

Notes to Editors

• To find the RNLI’s 200th anniversary retail range, go to:

• To find out more about Sheringham Lifeboat Station, please visit:

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Toni Carr, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on 07890 402106 or [email protected] or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824 518641 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
Michael Gloistein working on board the SDA in Antarctica at Rothera Station

RNLI/Michael Gloistein

Michael Gloistein working on board the SDA in Antarctica
The RRS Sir David Attenborough at Harwich, Essex


The RRS Sir David Attenborough at Harwich, Essex
The Sir David Attenborough Research Vessel's bell


The Sir David Attenborough Research Vessel's bell
The Sir David Attenborough ship's helicopter deck


The Sir David Attenborough ship's helicopter deck
The briefing room onboard the SDA


The briefing room onboard the SDA

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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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.