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Purpose, Vision and Values

Kilmore Quay crew member Michelle Hinchy at the helm of the Y-boat launched from the Tamar class lifeboat Killarney 16-18 which can be seen in the background with search lights on.

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea

We provide, on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service and a seasonal lifeguard service. Our Values reflect the way we do business as an organisation. 


The RNLI saves lives at sea.


To end preventable loss of life at sea.


Our work is based on and driven by our values. Our volunteers and staff strive for excellence and are ...

Selfless: willing to put the requirements of others before our own and the needs of the team before the individual, able to see the bigger picture and act in the best interests of the RNLI, and to be inclusive and respectful of others. Prepared to share our expertise with organisations that share our aims.

Dependable: always available, committed to doing our part in saving lives with professionalism and expertise, continuously developing and improving. Working in and for the community and delivering on our promises.

Trustworthy: accountable and efficient in the use of the donations entrusted to us by our supporters, managing our affairs with transparency, integrity and impartiality. Responsible for our own safety and dedicated to the safety of others.

Courageous: prepared to achieve our aims in changing and challenging environments. We are innovative, adaptable and determined in our mission to save more lives at sea.

Things we will not change:

Volunteer ethos:

Our lifesaving service is provided wherever possible by volunteers, generously supported by voluntary donations and legacies.

Independent of Government:

We do not seek funding from central government.

Major charity, community based:

We operate through local teams, centrally directed and resourced.


Our exceptional expertise is in the preservation of life at sea and on the water through prevention and rescue.


We are proud of our history and tradition and of the RNLI’s achievement of saving lives over nearly two centuries.

Inclusion and diversity

We are committed to being an inclusive organisation by encouraging diversity in our workforce, volunteers and supporters. We promote equality of opportunity for all, based on an individual’s ability and their potential to contribute to the RNLI.

The RNLI and the environment

We aim to reduce energy consumption, which will improve our carbon footprint and reduce costs – making donations go further.

Projects that reduce our impact on the environment include ground source heat pumps at new lifeboat stations, a wind turbine that powers Aith Lifeboat Station, and a variety of energy-saving measures in our offices.

Our long-term plan is to slow our carbon footprint expansion, reach a steady state, then achieve year-on-year reductions while still meeting our need for increased operational activities.

Services in 2015

RNLI lifeboats


average 23 a day


people rescued
average 22 a day


lives saved

RNLI lifeguards




people aided


lives saved

Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, our lifeboats, and since 2001, our lifeguards, have saved more than 140,000 lives.

More and more people are using beaches and the sea for leisure and RNLI crews and lifeguards are responding to an increased number of incidents.

In 2015, almost half of all launches (4,010) were to leisure craft users. This includes powerboats, yachts, kayakers, surfers, paddle boarders, body boarders and tenders without outboards. 

23% of launches (1,861) were to people ashore, 13% (1,080) to people in the water, 6% (478) to fishing boats, 2% (194) to commercial or MOD boats and 7% (605) to other sea users.