RNLI Memorial

Designed to be a beacon of hope, the RNLI Memorial honours the courage of all those lost at sea while endeavouring to save the lives of others.

RNLI memorial sculpture in Poole, Dorset.
RNLI Memorial sculpture in Poole, Dorset

Many brave and selfless lifeboat crew and search and rescue servicepeople are remembered proudly in their local communities. However, the RNLI Memorial sculpture in Poole, Dorset, UK, is the only place where each and every one of them is named together.

The memorial was unveiled in 2009 and serves as a source of inspiration for current and future generations of lifeboat crew, lifeguards, supporters and fundraisers. It reminds us that there are still people who volunteer to carry out selfless acts of heroism to help others; and we will always remember their sacrifice.

In most cases, the names listed on the memorial saved the lives of others before losing their own. See the full list of names.

You can add your tribute to the people named on the memorial, and to all the RNLI’s lifesavers, past, present and future.

‘With courage, nothing is impossible’ 

Sam Holland’s sculpture, depicting a person in a boat saving another from the water, symbolises the history and future of the RNLI in its most basic and humanitarian form. Sam intended her design to be bold and simple, incorporating the elements of courage, loss and remembrance. 

Above the list of names of those who sacrificed their own lives to save others, the sculpture bears the motto of Sir William Hillary: 'With courage, nothing is impossible.' It’s a beacon of hope, honouring those who continue to save lives at sea, as well as those lost in the act of lifesaving.

Our thanks

We wish to thank the following for their kind contributions:

  • Speirs and Major Associates (Lighting Architects)
  • Stewarts Garden Design and Landscaping
  • Borough of Poole.

As well as the consultants and contractors involved in making this sculpture:

  • Ellis Belk Associates
  • Construction Limited
  • Lighting Technology Projects LTD (PAI)
  • Taylor Fuel Control (King Group
  • LAMEEKAM®Graphics by Studio Lameek.

The RNLI Memorial Books

The Memorial Books commemorate people who have died on RNLI lifeboat service since the charity was established in 1824. Listed in station alphabetical order, each page is a sheet of calf-skin vellum beautifully hand-written and drawn by members of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators. The first volume was commissioned by Lord Saltoun to mark the RNLI’s 150th Anniversary in 1974 and is on loan to the RNLI from the Saltoun Trust. The second volume, commissioned by the RNLI, records those who have been lost since 1974.

Why are there more names on the Memorial sculpture?

A total of 438 names are recorded in the two Memorial Books whereas the RNLI Memorial sculpture contains the names of over 800 people. This is because the sculpture includes pre-1824 lifeboat volunteers and private individuals whose names have come to light due to research since 2009.

Memorial Books

  • Thumbnail of page 1 of Memorial Book 1

    PDF 6.55MB

    Memorial Book 1
  • Thumbnail of page 1 of Memorial Book 2
    PDF 6.67MB
    Memorial Book 2

Lifeboat volunteers need your help right now

Our crews are facing their toughest Christmas ever. Call outs are increasing, but RNLI income has gone down. And people are still getting into danger in the water. It’s a Perfect Storm. But you can help them through it with a donation today.