Posted: Mon 4th Mar 2024

RNLI celebrates 200th anniversary after saving nearly 7,000 lives in North Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

On the day the charity turns 200, the RNLI has revealed its volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards in North Wales have saved an incredible 6,917 lives during its two centuries of lifesaving.

Founded in a London tavern on 4 March 1824 following an appeal from Sir William Hillary, who lived on the Isle of Man and witnessed many shipwrecks, the RNLI has continued saving lives at sea throughout the tests of its history, including tragic disasters, funding challenges, and two World Wars.

Two centuries have seen vast developments in the lifeboats and kit used by the charity’s lifesavers – from the early oar-powered vessels to today’s technology-packed boats, which are now built in-house by the charity; and from the rudimentary cork lifejackets of the 1850s to the full protective kit each crew member is now issued with.

The RNLI’s lifesaving reach and remit have also developed over the course of 200 years. Today, it operates 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland and has seasonal lifeguards on over 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK. It designs and builds its own lifeboats and runs domestic and international water safety programmes.

Since the charity was founded, its volunteer crews in North Wales have launched the lifeboats 21,949 times, saving 6,905 lives, while its lifeguards – who became part of the RNLI’s lifesaving service in 2001 – have responded to 1,474 incidents, saving 12 lives.

RNLI crews at Flint station have launched 781 times and saved 102 lives.

At Rhyl in Denbighshire, the lifeboats have launched 2,633 times and saved 469 lives.

Volunteers at the two stations in Conwy County have launched 2,940 times and saved 265 lives.

Anglesey’s four stations have launched 8,863 times and saved 3,654 lives.

In Gwynedd, the six stations have launched 6,912 times and saved 1,915 lives.

As well as the charity celebrating its 200th anniversary, this year, Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Station is celebrating its 160th birthday. Criccieth is marking 170 years of saving lives

with the lifeboat having launched 1,178 times, saving 277 lives since the station opened.

Since its founding in 1864, Porthdinllaen lifeboat has launched 941 times, and the volunteer crew have saved 391 lives.

To celebrate its 160th anniversary, a collection of historical images has been gathered to depict how the station has changed over the years.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, says: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be at the helm of the RNLI for the past five years, and to see the charity reach its bicentenary.”

“For a charity to have survived 200 years based on the time and commitment of volunteers, and the sheer generosity of the public donating to fund it, is truly remarkable.”

“It is through the courage and dedication of its incredible people that the RNLI has survived the tests of time, including tragic losses, funding challenges, two World Wars, and, more recently, a global pandemic.”

“Today, we mark the bicentenary of the RNLI. We remember the achievements and commitment of all those who have been part of the RNLI family over the past two centuries; we celebrate the world-class lifesaving service we provide today, based on our 200 years of learning, expertise, and innovation, and we hope to inspire future generations of lifesavers and supporters who will take the RNLI into its next century and beyond.”

 

“I am immensely grateful to everyone who is involved with the charity – our volunteers, supporters, and staff. This is our watch, and it is our role to keep our charity safe and secure so it can continue to save lives into the future, as we strive in our vision to save everyone.”

Jo Partner, RNLI Head of Region for Wales, says: “I am immensely grateful to everyone who is involved with the charity across Wales – our volunteers, supporters, and staff.”

“Today is a hugely significant day in our history and an occasion we should all be very proud of. I know there are lots of events being planned across Wales to mark this very special day, and I hope people enjoy being part of this special piece of history.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all those who play a part in making the RNLI the proud organisation it is today – which really is a cause for celebration.”

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