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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

926 of 1170 nominations


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Is this an icon?


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

There can’t be a more welcoming sight for the stranded seafarer than the arrival of the orange and blue boat of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Established in 1824, this registered charity has saved more than 137,000 lives, and counting. It used its fleet of 332 lifeboats to rescue more than 7,500 people in 2004, and its lifeguard service in south-west England alone responded to more than 8,000 incidents the same year. The lifeboats cover the coastal waters off the UK and the Republic of Ireland from 233 lifeboat stations. Most of the 4,800 crew members are volunteers. More and more rescues involve people using the sea for recreational purposes – leisure craft users accounted for more than half the incidents in 2004.

Henry Blogg of the Cromer lifeboat crew, who died in 1954, is the most celebrated RNLI man in history. He spent 53 years on the lifeboats, winning eight RNLI medals, the British Empire Medal and the George Cross. Cromer quite properly has a museum dedicated to him.

Photo: Ted Davis


Your comments

The RNLI represents the English maritime tradition. Crews continue to take on the sea, even heading out into the swell when every other seaman is taking cover. Moreover, in many crews, generations of families can be traced each playing its part in the lifeboats history. There are very few countries around the world where such an impressive lifesaving institution could be maintained solely by donations and volunteers.

Matthew Holmes

I am a member of the RNLI, and much as I agree it is an Icon it cannot be claimed to be simply an icon of England- it's name says that it is National- and I think that means the whole of Great Britain. True it was started due to a wonderfully plucky young woman who rescued some seamen off Eddystone, which I've sailed past on a stormy night, and couldn't have rowed in that weather like she did, but this is not an Icon of England.

It is not only well known in Great Britain but also right round the world
Robert A Whitehead

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry