By Liv Quinn, Volunteer Crew Member at Penarth RNLI

I’d always wanted to be on the lifeboats, ever since I was little – in fact it was a big part of the reason I came to live in Penarth. I wanted to be part of the crew, going out on shouts and helping contribute to the lifesaving work the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) does day in day out, every day of the year.

Liv Quinn
Lifesaver Liv Quinn | Image credit: RNLI-Nathan Williams

Many of you are probably familiar with the RNLI, with fond memories of seeing our lifeboats in action – something co-founder of The Outdoor Guide (TOG) Julia Bradbury has covered for television – or dropping a few coins into a collection box on your coastal holidays.

Here at the RNLI, we’ve been saving lives at sea for almost 200 years. This spring, however, we’re asking for your continued help and support with the return of the Mayday Mile, our biggest annual fundraising event and a great reason to get out and about.

Last year, RNLI lifeboats around the UK and Ireland launched over 9,300 times, an increase of 5% on the year before, and so the need for further support is greater than ever.

Our lifeboat launched 44 times in 2022, and we’re all expecting another busy year as the summer brings large numbers of visitors to Penarth. On a busy day, the town is heaving, and the seafront is packed. My fellow volunteers and I get called out to all sorts of rescues during the season, from people swimming or swept out on paddleboards or inflatables, to those who never even intended to get their feet wet but end up cut off by the tide whilst enjoying a coastal walk.

Penarth's B-class lifeboat
RNLI Penarth's B-class lifeboat at sea.

The RNLI would never discourage anyone from making the most of the fantastic coastline that we enjoy in the UK and Republic of Ireland but echo the super TOG Tips on the Walks section of this website on being safe and checking the weather, as well as being suitably equipped.

As a charity, the RNLI relies on voluntary donations from the public so that our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have everything they need in terms of training and kit to continue keeping people safe around our coasts.

The Mayday Mile, which takes place over the month of May, is such a simple way to support lifesavers like me.

Just complete one mile a day, every day this May, wherever and however you like. It’s a great reason to get out and about in the spring sunshine and enjoy your favourite walks, with plenty of inspiration thanks to Julia and TOG!

Here in Penarth, we’re lucky to have the amazing Wales Coast Path right on our doorstep – the path passes right outside the lifeboat station – giving us access to some amazing coastal walks that I am sure some TOG readers have already enjoyed.

Last year, there were over 1,400 sign ups to the Mayday Mile, and we’re hoping for more this year. Anything you raise through sponsorship will help to provide the vital training and equipment that is needed to keep me and my fellow lifesavers safe, as we prepare for our busiest time of year.

I have seen people in real fear for their lives, and every time I do, I’m reminded of just how important it is for us to be backed by the vital training and equipment we need to bring them home to their families.

In whatever way you choose to complete the Mayday Mile this year, every penny raised will go to giving us everything we need to continue saving lives at sea this summer, and hopefully for many years to come.

The RNLI are grateful to all our supporters and friends, such as Julia and TOG, for your ongoing support. Thank you.

Julia Bradbury
Julia Bradbury

Stay safe this summer

The coast is a wonderful place to get your hiking boots on, with miles of coastal path to explore and the reward of stunning sea views. But even if you intend to stay firmly on dry land, accidents can happen – sadly, slips and falls whilst walking or running are a leading cause of deaths at the coast. Last year, RNLI lifeboats launched 306 times to aid people walking or running at the coast.

If you are heading for a coastal walk this summer, the RNLI has some helpful tips:

  • Be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside. Slips and falls happen in all locations; it is not just high cliff edges that are a risk.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Take care when walking in dark and slippery conditions.
  • Always take a means of calling for help.
  • Always check the weather and tides. Getting cut off by the tide is a common cause of lifeboat launches.
  • In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Did you know?

The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and their lifeguards patrol over 240 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 143,900 lives.

The RNLI has over 5,600 volunteer crew members and over 3,700 volunteer shore crew around the UK and Ireland, with over 1,600 seasonal beach lifeguards working alongside the lifeboats.

Blog Author: Liv Quinn, Volunteer Crew Member at Penarth RNLI