RNLI statement – UK public sector strike action

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(Police attempt to prevent UK Uncut activists from occupying Fortnum and Mason in March. The group has said it will take take a day of strikes and co-ordinated action with unions on 30 June. Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

Public sector Government employees in alliance with anarchists out wreck Britain

Date: 28/06/2011

Author: Laura Fennimore, Public Relations Officer

Some recent media reports speculating on the possible impact of public sector strike action on the operation of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have confused the respective identities and roles of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and HM Coastguard.

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The RNLI is very concerned that news reports and images may create the false impression that its lifeboats and lifeguards will be involved in the public sector strike action on 30 June. This is potentially very damaging to the reputation of the RNLI, a charity which relies on public goodwill and donations, and is independent of Government and the public sector.

The RNLI wants to reassure the public that its lifeboats will be available for service as normal and will launch as soon as they are alerted to any people or vessels in difficulty at sea. Similarly, its lifeguards will be on duty on over 140 beaches around the coast as usual.

The RNLI would also be grateful if the media could avoid using images of RNLI lifeboats in stories about the HM Coastguard strike or headlines in a manner which might imply that its lifeboats and volunteers are in any way taking part.

Thank you for your help and support with this issue.

Key facts about search and rescue in the UK

The RNLI is a charity, independent of Government, and operates 235 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland and currently has seasonal lifeguards on over 140 beaches around the UK (163 in peak season) .
The RNLI is funded by public donations. The UK Government funds HM Coastguard, which is part of the MCA, a government agency.
RNLI lifeboats are operated by highly trained volunteer crews and are available 24/7 to launch within minutes to those in peril at sea. Most RNLI volunteer crew members also have full-time employment, but give up their time to help others. RNLI volunteers carry pagers and are alerted within moments of the HM Coastguard request for assistance.
HM Coastguard coordinates civil maritime search and rescue from Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC). HM Coastguard decides which resources are needed for a search and rescue incident and then request lifeboats or other assets, such as helicopters or cliff rescue teams, to deploy.
RNLI lifeguards provide life-saving patrols and safety advice to the public on busy beaches around the UK on a seasonal basis.

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