Will you help give crews the launch equipment they need, by donating today?
To reach someone in danger, a lifeboat needs to be put in the water - it's no good to anyone on dry land. Which is why there's one thing our volunteer crews love even more than lifeboats: a tractor. It's our hidden hero.
Our launch and recovery equipment is so important – it helps meet the varying launching needs of our 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland. And, just like a car, it needs to be maintained and even replaced from time to time. But the RNLI is a charity. And we can't power our crews out to sea quickly, and bring them ashore safely, without our kind supporters. That's why, when you donate to our Launch Appeal today to help fund this vital lifesaving kit, you become a hero too.
There’s no feeling quite like launching the lifeboat and its crew out to help someone. But it feels pretty special to bring them back safely, too
‘Our dependable lifeboat relies on a hidden hero: the tractor’
Andrew Woodhouse is a volunteer tractor driver on the west coast of Scotland. ‘When the call for help comes, I use the tractor to pull the lifeboat out of her shed and 100m down a busy road to a steep slipway into the water. The slipway is often slick with seaweed, but the sure grip of our tractor’s tyres keeps her steady.
‘After a rescue, the tractor pulls the crew and our lifeboat back onto dry land. We tuck them up into the boathouse with love – our dependable lifeboat and our hidden hero: the tractor. With your help, we can make sure every lifeboat station has the right equipment they need to launch to the next emergency.’
84% of our 238 lifeboat stations rely on launching vehicles
100 years RNLI lifeboats have been launched out to sea by tractors
260 launching vehicles are in the RNLI fleet
3,700+ RNLI shore crew volunteers make lifeboat launches possible
How to help your donation go further
If you are a UK resident, and are able to Gift Aid, please remember to select 'Yes' when asked - it will make your donation worth 25% more and help save more lives at sea.
If you've got any questions about our appeal or would like to donate by phone, please call our Supporter Experience Team on (from the UK) 0300 300 9907 or (from Ireland) 01 895 1877 on weekdays, 8am–6pm.
Any funds raised above this appeal's target will go into general funds and be used where the need is greatest.