What is it?
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as inshore. It was founded on 4 March 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, adopting the present name in 1854.
The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations around the coasts of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Since 1980, lifeboat rescues have doubled; the RNLI rescues an average of 22 people each day.
The RNLI is funded entirely by voluntary donations and legacies (together with tax reclaims), and has an annual budget of £130 million.Who founded it?
Sir William Hillary came to live on the Isle of Man in 1808. Being aware of the treacherous nature of the Irish Sea, with many ships being wrecked around the Manx coast, he drew up plans for a national lifeboat service manned by trained crews. Initially he received little response from the Admiralty but on appealing to the more philanthropic members of London society, the plans were adopted and the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was founded in 1824. Thirty years later the title changed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the first of the new lifeboats to be built was stationed at Douglas in recognition of the work of Sir William.
At the age of 60 Sir William took part in the rescue, in 1830, of the packet St George, which had foundered on Conister Rock at the entrance to Douglas harbour. He commanded the lifeboat and was washed overboard with others of the lifeboat crew, yet finally everyone aboard the St George was rescued with no loss of life.It was this incident which prompted Sir William to set up a scheme to build The Tower of Refuge on Conister Rock - a project completed in 1832 which stands to this day at the entrance to Douglas harbour[2
As you can appreciate The RNLI is godsend to those in peril upon the sea. Manned by volunteers around the Isle Of Man and Great Britain the brave men and woman who give up there free time to train and save lives lives, and sometimes sacrifice their own are a wonderful testament to the better side of the human race. This island of sea lovers alone owes a lot to this institution. In fact one of our bloggers is a volunteer and you can have a better insight into the RNLI through words and images at their website MANNANANS CLOAK