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The predecessor to the RNLI was founded over 170 years ago and was known as the "National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck". Even then, the service was funded by voluntary support as it is today. In 1854 the Institution was renamed the "Royal National Lifeboat Institution", a name it still carries today. From 1854 - 1869, the RNLI received a subsidy from the Government to make up the shortfall in voluntary funds. But since 1869 the RNLI has been entirely dependant upon and run from voluntary funds.
The men and women who make up the RNLI rescue service also volunteer their efforts and do not receive payment for their duties, only receiving a token payment to cover their expenses. Without their sacrifice, the RNLI as we know it today would not exist.
Poole lifeboat station was the busiest coastal station in 2010, according to figures released by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Rescue vessels from the harbour in Dorset were launched 148 times, saving 155 people.
The RNLI now has a fleet of over 300 lifeboats, ranging from the smaller inshore rescue inflatable to 55ft Severn class all weather rescue boats. The cost of the latest and largest Lifeboat is now in excess of £1 Million pounds, whilst the smaller inshore inflatable still costs over £11,000 pounds. You can see that it costs a serious amount of money to provide the 24 hour cover we expect from the RNLI. From their 222 Lifeboat Stations, they provide cover up to a range of 50 miles from the UK and Republic of Ireland Coast.
The RNLI is funded entirely by voluntary contributions or legacies, please make your contribution, it could be you that needs their help next.
Visit the official RNLI website at www.rnli.org.uk to find out how you can help.