The RNLI is today officially announcing its new Serious Fun! fundraising campaign, in a year when the charity’s financial free reserves are at their lowest level in over a decade. The Serious Fun! campaign – sponsored by Helly Hansen – aims to increase regular donations to the charity among all leisure marine and watersports enthusiasts.
The charity’s financial free reserves, which guarantee the future operation of our Islands’ 24/7 maritime search and rescue service, are currently only enough to run the RNLI for just seven months – they are at their lowest level in 13 years1. As a charity – that receives no Government funding – the RNLI requires free reserves to sustain its operation and ensure long-term investment in its 235 lifeboat stations, over 330 lifeboats and 140 beach lifeguard units around the coast. Coupled with a reliance on public donations, the volatility of legacy income and with the UK economy in recession the RNLI needs more than ever to encourage regular financial support from leisure sea users.
Demand for the RNLI’s lifesaving rescue services among leisure sea users shows no sign of abating2, with over half of the 8,000+ lifeboat launches each year to leisure craft3, yet support for the RNLI among this group is in decline. Although over 53,000 boating and watersports enthusiasts are currently regular supporters and members of the RNLI, a recent British Marine Federation (2008) report into watersports and leisure participation among UK adults indicates, that up to two million people participate in boating activities in UK coastal waters. This suggests that as few as 2.5 per cent of those who go to sea for leisure participation are making regular donations to the RNLI.
RNLI Fundraising and Communications Director, David Brann, says:
‘The RNLI wants everyone who goes to sea in their leisure time to realise that the value of our lifeboat service – their rescue service – comes at a cost. Last year our running costs averaged around £378,000 per day. Saving lives at sea is an expensive business, but what price can be put on a life saved? As a charity that relies on voluntary donations and legacies, we cannot be taken for granted, particularly in the current economic climate when we expect our income to slow-down and our reserves are at a 13-year low.
‘Although the charity is grateful to its dedicated supporter base among the traditional sailing and boating fraternity, it is crucial that we build on this if we are to protect our lifesaving service around the coast. The Serious Fun campaign is all about encouraging regular giving, with donations starting from just £2 a month. Occasionally putting some coins in the lifeboat collection box, although welcome, simply does not provide us with the assured income needed to run the RNLI.’
At the heart of the RNLI’s new fundraising campaign is a DVD entitled ‘Serious Fun!’ which is available FREE of charge to those who request a copy from the RNLI’s website: www.rnli.org.uk/seriousfun. The DVD features 11 short films each dedicated to a different water-based sport, from powerboating (large and small), sailing (yachts and small sail boats), windsurfing and kitesurfing; to jet skiing (PWC), waterskiing and wakeboarding, sea angling, diving, canoeing and kayaking.
The DVD, created in collaboration with watersports governing bodies and experts, contains practical tips and advice for having fun on the water while raising skill levels and staying safe; along with a lifejacket clinic from RNLI Sea Safety experts, rescue stories and a short feature about the RNLI and how to support the charity that saves lives at sea.
RNLI Leisure Marine Marketing Manager, Richard Devereux, says:
‘The Serious Fun! DVD is a great way to connect with your chosen watersport without even getting wet. It’s all about being able to enjoy your time on the water, confident in the knowledge that the RNLI is never far away should things go wrong. We hope that those who share a common passion for having serious fun on the water will take advantage of the free DVD, to not only learn more about their chosen pastime but to find out about the RNLI and become regular financial supporters for the charity that saves lives at sea.’
Commenting on Helly Hansen’s sponsorship of the Serious Fun campaign, Sales Director for Helly Hansen UK Ltd, David Wiley says:
‘Like the RNLI, Helly Hansen has a long and rich history. Helly Juell Hansen produced his first waterproof garment in 1877 with the aim of keeping him dry, warm and ultimately safe at sea. Over the past 130 years, Helly Hansen has continued this philosophy and developed innovative products that help people remain safe and in their performance zone in times of survival, work and sport. So it was a natural fit for the brand to support the charity that saves lives at sea. We are proud to be sponsors of the RNLI’s new Serious Fun! Campaign and we hope that with our support they may reach out to more watersports enthusiasts than ever before.’
Notes to Editors:
- Register for your copy of ‘Serious Fun!’ by visiting: www.rnli.org.uk/seriousfun and see a trailer of the DVD or by calling: 0800 543 210
- The Serious Fun DVD complements ‘Sea Safety: The Complete Guide’ - a handbook and CD-ROM of essential safety information by the RNLI for all who go to sea: www.rnli.org.uk/seasafety
- For more information on RNLI running costs, income, expenditure and financial reserves please request a Financial Factsheet, or see RNLI Financial Report and Accounts 2008
- For more information on the British Marine Federation Watersports Participation Survey
- RNLI 2008 rescue statistics available on request, including a breakdown for the following watersports: Canoe/Kayak, Rowing and manual craft, Diving, Kitesurfing, Large Motorboat, Personal Watercraft, Sea Angling, Small Powerboat, Small Sailboat, Waterskiing, Windsurfing and Yachting.
- The Serious Fun! DVD was filmed, edited and produced by Cowes based The Knowledge Zone: www.theknowledgezone.net
RNLI media contacts:
For more information please telephone RNLI PR on 01202 336 789 or contact RNLI Public Relations Officer Katie Wilton on 01202 66 3127 / 07899 076 224 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Key facts about Helly Hansen:
Helly Hansen is the world's most experienced sailing apparel and footwear brand. The Moss, Norway based company is recognised for inventing the first waterproof fabrics in 1877, the first fleece mid-layers in the 1960s and LIFA - the first technical base layer in the 1970s. The combined three layer system of dress has become the reliable standard for keeping warm, dry and comfortable in cold and wet conditions. Today, Helly Hansen is a global leader in technical apparel and footwear designs for a range of outdoor and watersport activities. Helly Hansen products are distributed in more than 40 countries.