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On March the 4th 1824, Sir William Hillary recognised the need for a coordinated lifeboat service and his appeal to the nation led to the foundation of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, later to become the RNLI. Since its formation in 1824 to the present day, RNLI crews have saved over 136,000 lives at sea. Nowadays, the RNLI has 231 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, including 4 lifeboat stations on the River Thames. In addition, the RNLI provides a beach rescue service on 43 beaches in the south west of England. Read more