THE volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have a long and proud history of saving lives off the Wirral coast and thousands of people owe a debt of thanks to the lifeboatmen and women of New Brighton, Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboat Stations, who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Because they are volunteers, RNLI lifeboat crews go about their daily lives like everyone else. They have jobs, spend time with friends and family – but unlike most people, carry a pager to alert them when someone is in trouble at sea.
That pager can sound at any time, wherever they are, whatever the weather, and RNLI volunteers must be ready to stop whatever they are doing to go to the rescue when the call comes.
Early lifeboats were manned almost entirely by local fishermen and seafarers but today, lifeboat volunteers come from all walks of life – only around 10% of new recruits have a professional maritime background.
That means the RNLI must provide its crews with the very best training available, to make sure they can save lives as effectively as possible while also keeping themselves and their crew mates safe.
Lifeboat crews dedicate many hours each month to training, both at sea and on dry land.
The training and equipment needed by RNLI volunteers – from lifeboats to lifejackets, drysuits and even wellies – is provided thanks to the generosity of the public.
As a charity, the RNLI is independent of the government and we depend on fundraising and donations to maintain our lifesaving service.
For every RNLI lifeboatman or woman, there are another 10 or more fundraising volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure we have enough money to keep our charity going.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be telling you more about the RNLI in your area, but if you want more information now about how you can help the charity that saves lives at sea, visit rnli.org or call 0300 300 9902