RNLI lifeboats have been involved in inland rescues as far back as the 1930s. In January 1937, after 12 days of gales and rain, the River Dee flooded, causing widespread damage and cutting off many buildings. Before the official formation of the Flood Rescue Team, lifeboat crew members were involved in major international flood-relief efforts in Bangladesh (1970).
The Flood Rescue Team was born out of the RNLI’s involvement with the Mozambique floods of February 2000. A team of eight, with six D class inflatable lifeboats, was deployed for search and rescue purposes and ended up providing humanitarian aid to some 10,000 people. In 2005, six boats and a team of 20 were deployed to Guyana, when heavy rain and flooding affected 250,000 people.
In the UK, the Flood Rescue Team formed a core part of the response to the 2007 floods in South Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire; the Morpeth floods in 2008; Cockermouth in 2009; St Austell, Cornwall, in 2010, and the Aberystwyth and Borth floods in 2012.