Become a volunteer and support your community


Volunteers are the heart of the RNLI.

All our volunteers show incredible commitment to the charity. Without them we wouldn’t be able to carry out our core purpose, to save lives at sea.  We rely on tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers, who contribute their time, energy and skills, without salary and of their own free will, to support the RNLI.

The RNLI welcomes and values every volunteer, from all walks of life. We aim to utilise the gift of an individuals time, knowledge and skills to help achieve our purpose of saving lives at sea.

Our volunteer crew are the backbone of the lifeboat service, physically saving lives at sea.

There are more than 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members at stations around the UK and the RoI, and another 3,000 volunteer shore crew members who support them.  They are available 24/7, whatever the weather, to rescue those who need help.  In addition to the crew, it takes many more volunteers to run a lifeboat station effectively. The Lifeboat Operations Manager is in charge of authorising launches and day-to-day station management. The Lifeboat Management Group, also made up of volunteers, represents the station in the local community.

Each station has a volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, who produces press releases and promotes the station's activity in local and regional media. There is also a Lifeboat Medical Adviser at every station, performing the crews' medicals and giving first-aid and scenario training.