The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the British equivalent of the American Coastguards, only it is funded entirely by donations. It was begun in 1824, and currently, there are approximately 231 RNLI stations in the U.K., Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, and an active fleet of 311 lifeboats, with a relief fleet of 110. The boats used are:
Those who man the lifeboats for emergencies are all volunteers, and according to the official RNLI website, there are 4,500 volunteer crew members, 250 of which are women. The first female crew member was a student at Atlantic College, where there is an official RNLI station on campus for students to serve in.
LET NOT THE DEEP SWALLOW ME UP
Note: see www.rnli.org.uk for more info