Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Please check back on this page regularly to make sure you have the most up to date information about our response to the pandemic, and everything you need to keep yourself and others safe and our lifesaving services running. 

An RNLI volunteer wearing a face covering smiles as she sorts through shop items

Whether we're volunteering at an RNLI site or from home, we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and each other from coronavirus, so we can keep our lifesaving services running and protect members of the public. 

Our lifesaving service depends on you – so please take necessary precautions to protect yourself and others. 

Page contents

  •  Latest Covid-19 guidance across our sites

General information about: 

  • Latest government restrictions
  • Self-isolating
  • Reporting 
  • Testing
  • Vaccinations
  • Looking after yourself 
  • Foreign travel and quarantine.     

Latest Covid-19 guidance across our sites

While safety measures are being reviewed and relaxed across many of our jurisdictions, it’s important to remember that there are still high levels of infection in some areas. We all have a responsibility to protect ourselves, each other and our vital lifesaving services, and take reasonable precautions to avoid the spread of the virus.

Each region is managing safety measures in line with their own jurisdictional regulations, so please speak to your RNLI manager for advice if you are unsure.

The following guidance applies from Thursday 27 January 2022:

Face coverings 

Follow jurisdictional guidance as to where face coverings should be worn. If you’re unsure about the restrictions in a particular region, please speak to your RNLI manager.

At the RNLI Support Centre in Poole, face coverings are no longer mandatory in any of the buildings. However, we support people’s personal choice to wear a face covering.

Operational updates on wearing face coverings, for example during casualty care, can be found on Horizon (which you can log in to with your RNLI email address and password).

Shops, museums and visitor centres

As above, please follow jurisdictional guidance as to whether volunteers and staff must wear a face covering. However, you should encourage rather than enforce Covid-19 measures with members of the public, to avoid any potential anti-social behaviour.

General information

Latest government restrictions

With government guidelines and restrictions regularly changing, you can find the latest instructions for your area on the following sites:


Self-isolating means you must stay at home and avoid all contact with others. 

Your jurisdiction may introduce new or different rules regarding isolation – please ensure you are familiar with the rules that apply to you, and follow them if required.

You must self-isolate immediately, following your government's guidelines, if:

  • You have any coronavirus symptoms
  • You’ve tested positive for coronavirus 
  • You arrive in the UK or Ireland from a country with quarantine regulations and are informed you need to self-isolate.

Under these circumstances, if you can volunteer from home you should. If you're not able to carry out your volunteer duties from home, please contact your RNLI manager for support. 

Reporting cases to the RNLI

Covid-19 cases or isolations for volunteers don't need to be reported centrally. You should still let your volunteer or RNLI manager know, especially if there is a potential impact on our lifesaving operations.

If you have any questions, please speak to your RNLI manager or regional SHE manager.


PCR testing

If you develop symptoms you must follow your government’s advice:

Lateral flow testing

Lateral flow testing (LFT) is being managed within regions.

Unless you have been advised otherwise by the RNLI, all volunteers and staff should take an LFT before travelling to any RNLI sites, or twice a week if you’re volunteering regularly on site.

Please only travel to site if your test is negative. Inconclusive LFTs should be repeated until either a positive or negative result is obtained.


Vaccination is not mandatory for RNLI volunteers or staff members, but we strongly encourage everyone to get the vaccination as soon as it is available to you, as it is the best protection against contracting or transmitting the virus.

However, it’s important to respect the fact that getting the vaccine is a personal choice. Please be sensitive to those who choose not to get the vaccine, or who don’t want to talk about it. 

We’ve created a Covid-19 Vaccination Q&A to help answer some of the most common questions. 

Looking after yourself

The wellbeing page on the Volunteer Zone has a wealth of tips and resources to help you focus on your physical and mental wellbeing and manage your stress levels. You can also find out more about the support available to you at the RNLI.

Foreign travel and quarantine

Latest government advice

If you're planning to travel, please check the latest government advice:

You will also need to check the advice at your destination as this varies from country to country. Be aware that control measures may be brought in by both your local and the destination government with minimal notice. 

Quarantine after travelling abroad

If you are travelling abroad be aware that quarantine could be imposed at any time while you are away with minimal notice. If this happens and you will be unable to fulfil your volunteering role, please speak to your volunteer or lifesaving operations manager as soon as possible.