RNLI College is the home of crew training in the RNLI. Operational, staff and volunteer development training are carried out side-by-side using well-equipped training rooms, a resources centre and an integrated survival centre, which includes live-engine workshops, a wave tank, fire simulator and lifeboat bridge simulator.
Training and development activities include taught workshops and courses, learner-centred activities and distance-learning materials including online learning opportunities, to support competence-based training.
Approximately 4,000 lifeboat crew and lifeguards pass through the college annually to participate in one or more of nearly 40 different courses currently on offer.
Several lifeboat courses are conducted afloat in bespoke training boats or in a purpose-built mission simulator. The survival centre hosts the Trainee Crew courses where, in the wave pool, complete darkness, thunder, lightning, and helicopter recovery can all be simulated to very real effect. The pool also hosts the capsize training element of the course.
The survival centre also houses the live engineering workshop, which has six working lifeboat engines that students can dismantle and rebuild.
RNLI crew also have access to the RNLI Learning Zone via www.rnli2.org.uk. Here they can access resources, development plans and course information linked to the crew competency framework.
With only one in ten volunteers joining the RNLI from a professional maritime occupation, training is especially important. The Lloyd's Register Foundation has previously supported crew training and pledged to fund a further five years of sea survival training, from January 2011–December 2015, bringing its total support to just over £1.5M.
The Lloyd's Register Foundation funds education, training and research programmes in transportation, science, engineering, technology and the safety of life, worldwide for the benefit of all.