Where your money goes

Giving our lifesavers everything they need and deserve – from boots to boats – is costly.
RNLI Welly filled with coins on the beach

Photo: RNLI / Nigel Millard

RNLI Welly, Mayday fundraising campaign 2014

As a charity, we depend on people like you to help us meet the cost of saving lives at sea. Our volunteer lifeboat crew members give their time for free, but they need training, well-maintained equipment, lifeboats and shore facilities. Your support means our crews can save lives quickly, safely and effectively.

It cost over £177.3M to run our lifesaving service in 2016

Giving our lifesavers everything they need and deserve – from boots to boats – is costly. There are 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, and our lifeguards patrol over 240 beaches each summer.

In 2015 our £168.1M running costs were divided up into: 

  • Lifeboats, property and equipment 45%
  • Lifeboat service 20%
  • Legacies and donations 17%
  • Lifeguard rescue 11%
  • Safety, education and awareness 6%
  • International 1%.

Repair, renew, rebuild – our capital expenditure

Much of our income is used to keep our lifesavers ready for the next call for help. But how do we prepare for the years to come? We put £49.5M into our capital expenditure programme in 2016, which includes constructing new lifeboats and the buildings which will house, protect and launch them. This spending is a vital investment in the future.

In 2015, we completed 14 building projects and added 12 new renewable energy installations, boosting kilowatt hours generated by 42%.

RNLI solar panels, heat pumps and a wind turbine generated a saving of around £122,000 and our current savings from renewables equate to the cost of nine inshore rescue boats a year!

The All-weather Lifeboat Centre is an investment in lifesaving for generations to come and craft that will be built and maintained in this centre will bring our lifeboat crews home safely from the sea, back to their loved ones.
Paul Boissier
RNLI Chief Executive

Making your generosity work harder

As a charity, we know how much effort and thought goes in to raising every pound or euro which comes our way. So we’re committed to using funds in the most efficient ways possible.

The All-weather Lifeboat Centre opened in August 2015, reducing our capital expenditure by £13.4M compared to 2014. It cost us £24M to set up the centre, and by bringing lifeboat building home we will save an estimated £3M a year. That's £3M a year that can now go straight into other essential lifesaving work.

Want to delve deeper into the numbers? See our 2015 Annual Report and Accounts and learn more about the difference your support makes.