The National Independent Lifeboat Association (NILA) is a new charity established to support the UK’s independent lifeboats – those that are not affiliated with the Royal National Lifeboat Association – and to ensure the preservation and protection of life on the water across the UK.
The charity celebrated its launch at The Emergency Services Show. Its founder and honorary President is Totnes and South Devon MP Anthony Mangnall. He has been working with colleagues in Parliament as well as industry experts to form this new association that offers independent lifeboats the support and recognition they desperately need.
While many of the UK’s lifeboats are operated and funded by the Royal National Lifeboat Association (RNLI), there are 46 independent lifeboat organisations that operate independently along the coastline and on inland waterways across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These independent lifeboats are run primarily (if not entirely) by volunteers, and funded by local donations. They provide an invaluable service to their local communities and save thousands of lives each year.
NILA has already welcomed twenty nine members from all four nations, with more expected to join in the coming months. Many of these members work closely with their local Coastguard office, while those operating on rivers and lakes are tasked by the police or fire and rescue service.
The association aims to achieve recognition by the UK SAR Operators Group, joining the likes of the RNLI, Lowland Rescue (ALSAR), Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MR-EW), and the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS).
Neil Dalton is the Chair of NILA. He said, “It is an honour to take on the role of Chairman of the National Independent Lifeboat Association. This organisation is, in my opinion, long overdue and has the potential to offer great support to many independent lifeboats around the UK.
“Many members of the public assume that this water safety role is entirely the province of the RNLI, who provide an outstanding service. However, many areas of the UK are served by independent lifeboats so the National Independent Lifeboat Association intends to raise awareness of these organisations.”