Microsoft is donating software, with a market value of £5M, to the RNLI over the next three years. The donation will allow the charity to focus its expenditure in other areas to support key life saving initiatives, such as RNLI MOB Guardian, which involves a large annual financial commitment.
MOB Guardian, whose infrastructure runs on Microsoft applications, is a man overboard and vessel locator system, developed by the RNLI to help reduce deaths in the fishing industry. In less than a year of being introduced, the system has already helped save 5 lives. The Microsoft donation will allow the charity to free up its funds, helping it to plan more effectively to meet its objective of making MOB Guardian more affordable to fishermen in the UK and Ireland. The donation also allows the RNLI to continue investing in innovation, particularly the Systems and Information Management System, which is also based on Microsoft technology and provides essential operator information to lifeboat crews and is in operation on the Tamar class lifeboat, the RNLI’s latest all weather lifeboat.
To thank Microsoft for its generous donation, the RNLI Chief Executive, Andrew Freemantle winched down to thank Microsoft Marketing Business Officer, Matthew Bishop, as he and his team participated in a sea survival training experience at the RNLI lifeboat college, Poole (Dorset).
RNLI Chief Executive, Andrew Freemantle CBE explains:
‘This generous donation from Microsoft will greatly assist the RNLI in maintaining its lifesaving services in the current difficult economic climate. It will help us to ‘weather the storm’, that we, along with many other charities, are facing. Indeed we are bracing ourselves to be fully hit by the storm next year, when the impact of reduced share and house prices on the value of legacy gifts – upon which we are so dependent – is expected to become apparent.
‘This exceptional donation from Microsoft gives us greater financial flexibility to continue supporting lifesaving initiatives such as the roll-out of MOB Guardian, which could help provide 1,500 fishing boats with a safety system over the next three years.
‘It gives me great pleasure to personally extend the thanks of the RNLI to Microsoft, which is not only giving a donation, but is more fully immersing itself in the work of our volunteers by putting its staff through crew training techniques; it is these techniques that help keep our crew safe, should the worst happen at sea – it must be remembered that our crews frequently go and brave the eye of the storm to help save others.’
Additionally Matthew was introduced to Dorset fisherman, Tom Russell who uses the RNLI MOB Guardian safety system. Tom, who often fishes alone up to 15 miles off the Dorset coast, explains how the unit is like having someone watching over him:
‘Not many fishermen wear a lifejacket – but having this device on the boat makes me wear a lifejacket – if I go in the sea I’m just as likely to be rescued, so I’ve just got to stay alive until the cavalry comes.’
Matthew Bishop, Business Marketing Officer of Microsoft says:
‘The way in which the RNLI is using the latest technology to save lives is inspirational. It’s not so long ago that volunteers were rowing out through the surf to try and locate those in danger by sight and good fortune. The more fishing boats and sailors are covered by MOB Guardian and technologies like it, the safer those who work and play on the water will be. We’re delighted to support the vital work of the RNLI as part of our software grant programme, and look forward to developing many new initiatives in the coming years.’
Notes to editors
Photos are attached, captions as follows:
Photo 1: RNLI Chief Executive Andrew Freemantle winches down to liferaft to thank Microsoft Business Marketing Officer Matthew Bishop for Microsoft donation
Photo 2: (L to R) RNLI Chief Executive Andrew Freemantle presents Microsoft Business Marketing Officer Matthew Bishop with an RNLI Certificate of Appreciation
Photo 3: (L to R) Microsoft Business Marketing Officer Matthew Bishop meets Dorset fisherman Tom Russell and RNLI Fishing Safety Co-ordinator Sean Friday
Photo 4: (L to R) Microsoft Business Marketing Officer Matthew Bishop is welcomed on board by RNLI Finance and Information Systems Director Mark Hallam
RNLI media contactsFor other photos, quotes, interviews or more information please telephone Julia Sylvester, RNLI Public Relations Officer on 01202 663184 or 01202 336789 or email@example.com
The RNLI online
For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk or www.rnli.ie. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 137,000 lives.
A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland
Key facts about Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.
About RNLI MOB Guardian
MOB Guardian consists of a base unit on the fishing vessel and crew personal safety devices (PSDs) worn by the crew. The base unit automatically transmits, via satellite, regular updates of a vessel’s position, course and speed to the RNLI’s monitoring station. If a regular update is missed, the monitoring station tries to regain contact with the boat and if no further updates are received an alert is raised with the RNLI, which is then passed to the Coastguard so that a search can be initiated.
If a fisherman wearing a PSD falls into the water, or activates the PSD manually, an alert is raised and transmitted within minutes to the RNLI operations centre. The information passed to search and rescue agencies is accurate and up to date, detailing position, name of vessel and even gives names of crew members. Searching for this vessel or crew members becomes far easier and casualties can be reached faster.
About Systems and Information Management System (SIMS)
One of the biggest risks for crew members aboard a lifeboat in rough seas is being injured while moving around. A bespoke RNLI solution known as SIMS addresses this using the latest in computer technology. SIMS means that many on board controls for operating and controlling lifeboats can be managed remotely and the crew can remain in their seats for longer. Using the system also allows better task sharing between crew members as various functions can be monitored and controlled from virtually any location on the boat. SIMS is built using solid-state technology and incorporates a chain of back-up systems. In the unlikely event that all back-ups should fail, the lifeboat can still be operated using conventional systems.
About the RNLI Sea Survival Experience
The experience offers a unique and challenging team-building day or corporate event. Held at The Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset, it provides an opportunity to get a hands-on taster of the training that our volunteer lifeboat crews undergo. After a thorough briefing by RNLI Sea Survival Trainers, participants don standard-issue RNLI crew kit, undergo poolside drills and then enter the survival pool to learn the same skills and techniques that RNLI crew members rely on every day to save lives at sea. This includes survival swim, righting liferaft, closing and maintaining liferaft, helicopter recovery. /tlc_virtual_tour/team-building
About Microsoft Software Donation
Microsoft is providing software licences, with a market value of £5M to the RNLI. The licences represent all of the RNLI's Microsoft operating system and application requirements over the next 2-3 years. They will firstly facilitate the RNLI's strategic move to a single Microsoft platform in its data centre, including the migration of its major business applications and messaging service. Secondly, they will enable forthcoming initiatives to improve information management and collaboration possibilities for staff and volunteers alike.