Why we want to end drowning worldwide

The scale of the global drowning problem is a human disaster too big for us to ignore.

Although the problem can seem overwhelming, the solutions are often low-cost, simple and have a high impact. A 2012 study found that swimming lessons in Bangladesh reduced a child’s chance of drowning by 93%. We’re helping to run a series of similar lessons in Bangladesh that cost just £21 per child.

Why the RNLI?

The RNLI’s work in the UK and Ireland remains a core focus of attention and resources. But we also believe it’s our duty to share years of lifesaving knowledge and experience, so that we can make a difference worldwide.

Swimming lessons being taught in Bangladesh by our partner

Photo: RNLI

Swimming lessons being taught in Bangladesh by our partner

By our 200th anniversary in 2024, we are seeking to reduce the risk of drowning in countries that account for 25% of the global drowning burden.

Almost 200 years ago, RNLI founder Sir William Hillary foresaw an organisation that extended its views ‘from our own immediate coasts to the most remote quarters of the globe’. Today, our international vision is of a world in which no-one should drown.

Could you help us towards this vision? You can make a donation or email us if your organisation is looking for advice.

  • A boy holding a plastic container float during an Aquatic Survival lesson in Nungwi, Zanzibar
    The RNLI's international approach

    The RNLI isn’t delivering lifesaving services directly - the issue is far bigger than the reach of one organisation. Instead, we work with governments and other organisations committed to reducing drowning.

    How we can help end drowning