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Man saved from drowning urges support for the RNLI’s Mayday campaign

Lifeboats News Release

Today, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has released its rescue figures for 2023, revealing its lifeboat crews and lifeguards saved a total of 355 lives last year – almost one life saved for every day of the year.

  • New data has revealed RNLI lifeboats launched 9,192 times in 2023
  • The charity’s lifeboat crews and beach lifeguards saved a total of 355 lives last year
  • The charity is now putting out a Mayday call – asking the public to support their lifesavers by signing up to the Mayday Mile
  • Rescuee shares his dramatic rescue story and encourages others to support the charity that saves lives at sea

Today, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has released its rescue figures for 2023, revealing its lifeboat crews and lifeguards saved a total of 355 lives last year – almost one life saved for every day of the year.

Across the UK and Ireland the charity’s lifeboats were launched over 9,100 times in 2023, making it the charity’s second-busiest year of the past decade.

The RNLI data – captured between January and December 2023 – highlights the continuing demand for the services of volunteer lifeboat crews, with 9,192 lifeboat launches over the course of the year. RNLI lifeboat crews saved the lives of 269 people over the course of 2023, whilst the charity’s beach lifeguards saved 86 lives.

One person who knows first-hand the value of RNLI lifesavers is Alex Hodson from Eccleshall. On a warm September day, he and his fiancée had planned a day at the beach with friends and family. Alex, along with his niece and one of his friends’ children, had walked out to swim in the sea, unaware that the tide was turning and would soon be flooding in.

‘It was such a calm and beautiful day, but when we turned around we realised we were surrounded by water, and the current was so strong that I couldn’t swim against it. We could see the beach, but we just couldn’t get there – we were very scared’, said Alex.

Fortunately, one of the children, Alex’s niece, managed to get back to shore and raise the alarm. Volunteer lifeboat crew members from Conwy RNLI were on the water within minutes of their pagers sounding, and headed straight for Alex’s last know location.

Alex continued: ‘I was exhausted, I was out of my depth and was giving everything to keep me and my friend’s son afloat. I just got to the point where I thought this is it. I’m going to drown. It was a huge relief when I saw the boat coming towards us. I had nothing left, physically or mentally – without the crew, we wouldn’t have survived.’

The RNLI volunteers reached Alex just in time. He and his friend’s son were taken back to Conway lifeboat station, where they were warmed up before being taken to hospital. Both were discharged with a clean bill of health later that day.

The intensive training that the crew undergo, and the boats and equipment that helped them to rescue Alex so quickly, are only made possible thanks to the generous support of the public. The RNLI is now putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging the public to take part in the Mayday Mile – taking on the challenge of covering a mile-a-day during the month of May. All money raised will help to support the charity’s vital lifesaving service.

Pete Emmett, Head of Engagement at the RNLI, said: ‘This year, the RNLI has been saving lives at sea for 200 years. We’re now coming up to our busiest time of year, so we’re putting out our call for help to raise the funds which will help keep our lifesaving service going today and into the future.

‘Our incredible lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland launched over 9,000 times last year to help those in need, and our lifeguards kept people safe across hundreds of beaches. As a charity, we rely on the generous support of members of the public to continue this lifesaving work.

‘It’s clear from these new figures that demand for our services remains high, with our lifesavers dropping everything to run to the lifeboat station when the call comes in. Every Mayday Mile completed will raise funds to go towards ensuring we are ready whenever the call for help comes in. It’s so easy to get involved, and to have fun whilst helping the RNLI save lives.’

Whether you choose to walk, jog, hop or skip, a mile every day in May will help raise vital funds for RNLI lifesavers, so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

To sign up for the Mayday Mile, or to make a donation in support of the RNLI’s lifesavers, visit

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.