“Our crews do what they do because they believe that anyone can drown, but no one should. They believe in and remain focused on our core purpose, along with every member of the RNLI, to save lives at sea”.
In recent months, the charity has faced attacks from right-wing commentators for giving aid to those making the journey across the English Channel from France in small boats.
Jayda Fransen, the former deputy leader of Britain First, accused RNLI of “escorting illegals”, while former UKIP leader Nigel Farage described the charity as a “taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs”.
Rebuking the allegations, Dowie said: “When our lifeboats launch, we operate under International Maritime Law, which states we are permitted and indeed obligated to enter all waters regardless of territories for search and rescue purposes.
“And when it comes to rescuing those people attempting to cross the Channel, we do not question why they got into trouble, who they are or where they come from. All we need to know is that they need our help.”
The charity has seen an outpouring of support this week, receiving more than £200,000 in donations on Wednesday. This was a 2,000 per cent increase on the previous day and far above the daily average of £6,000 to £7,000.
Here is how you can offer your support.
Donate to the RLNI
You can donate to the charity through its website. Donations can be made in both pounds and euros, with the option of giving a one-off donation or repeat donations every month.
You can also donate over the phone between Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. If calling from the UK, call 0300 300 9990 and 1800 991802 from Ireland.
Alternatively, send a donation of £5 by SMS, by texting RNLI to 70300. The text will cost you the standard network message rate in addition to your donation, but the RLNI will receive 100 per cent of the £5.
You can also send the charity a cheque via post. Find the full address here.
If you wish to give more regularly, you can take out a monthly membership with the charity for £2.70 a month.
This payment will provide training and equipment for RLNI volunteers. You will also receive a quarterly magazine with in-depth articles about water safety and the work the charity is doing.
RLNI also offers payroll giving, which is a regular donation taken straight from your gross salary (before tax is deducted).
How to become a volunteer
There are a number of volunteer roles at the charity, including lifeboat crews, press officers, fundraisers and shop staff.
Here is the list of roles you could take on:
- Lifeboat crew member
- Lifeboat mechanic
- Training coordinator
- Coxswain – the person in charge of ensuring the safety of the crew
- Lifeguard, or a lifeguard assistant
- Water safety advisor
- A fundraising team member
- Souvenir secretary
- Gift shop volunteer
- Event organiser
See the full list of open opportunities here and more information about how to apply.
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