The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 137,000 lives.
Locally at Shoreham the new boathouse opened in October 2010 following a three-year community appeal to raise £1million towards the new build, . The station’s new £2.7million Tamar lifeboat, named the Enid Collett, after the late donor whose generous legacy funded the boat, arrived in Shoreham on December 10. She had her first operational shout two days later. All the lifeboat crew and shore helpers, apart from the full-time mechanic, at Shoreham are voluntary and are on call 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
At Brighton the RNLI lifeboat had the busiest winter in recent years for the fully volunteer crew and station personnel. There have been almost 20 call outs this year already, even before the busy summer season has begun. 2008 was the busiest year since 1824 for the RNLI in Brighton – with over 80 maritime incidents assisting 120 people – 2011 looks set to be equally as demanding.