FAQs about SMS launch alerts

What is the RNLI SMS launch alert service?

This service notifies you of lifeboats that have launched. The service is connected to the system that pages the lifeboat crew.

How do I sign up?

Sign up for this service online. As part of the process, you will choose the lifeboat stations you want to follow and will be charged 25p for each launch alert you receive from these stations. Once you have chosen your preferences and given your mobile phone number and details, you will receive an SMS, to which you need to reply. This confirms the telephone number is correct and the phone is in your possession.

Do I need a special phone to receive alerts?

To sign up to receive launch alerts, your phone needs to be able to respond to a 5 digit shortcode. Some mobile network providers do not currently support this feature, and it is currently unavailable in the Republic of Ireland or the Isle of Man. If your phone cannot reply to a shortcode, then unfortunately you will not be able to receive launch alerts.

How do I stop receiving launch alerts?

You can stop receiving launch alerts in two ways:

  1. Reply to a launch alert with a message saying 'stop'.
  2. On this website, you can log in and choose to stop receiving notifications..

How much do the alerts cost to receive?

You will be charged 25p for each SMS received.

How do I log in to manage my alerts?

Log in with your mobile phone number and PIN. If you have forgotten your PIN you can ask for a new one to be sent.

Do I receive an alert as soon as the lifeboat hits the water?

For operational reasons, there is currently a 20-minute delay on the alerts you receive. Delays beyond our control can sometimes occur with the mobile phone service.

What are the terms and conditions of the service?

View the terms and conditions of this service. Note that this service is only available to UK mobile phones.

Why must I verify my phone number?

To make sure that only you set up alerts for your mobile phone, we ask you to verify your mobile telephone number.

If I go on holiday, can I pause the alerts for a period of time?

Yes, you can pause the service for a specified period of time. Log in with your mobile phone number and PIN and choose 'Pause service'.

How do I check which stations I'm watching?

Log in with your mobile phone number and PIN. Your chosen stations will show on the 'My settings' page.

Can I choose which days of the week I receive alerts?

No. You can only choose the time of day.

How much of the alert cost does the RNLI receive?

This depends on the mobile phone service provider you use, however for every 25p alert you get, the RNLI will receive between 7p and 10.5p. The rest of the money goes to the network service provider.

What happens when I reach my maximum weekly cost limit?

Once you reach your maximum spend you will receive no more alerts, regardless of launches, until the following week.

Can I sign up on my friend's behalf?

No. You need to be the owner of the mobile phone or have the permission of the mobile phone owner. As part of the sign-up process you will receive an SMS, to which you will need to respond.

Does a week run from the day I sign up?

No, a week runs from Monday to Sunday.

What should I do if I change my mobile phone number?

Log in with your old number and choose to "Cancel service". You will then have to sign up again on the new phone. It is necessary for you to confirm the subscription on the new phone number.