National Independent Lifeboat Association joins UK SAR Operators Group

National Independent Lifeboat Association becomes newest member of UK Search and Rescue Operators Group.

The National Independent Lifeboat Association (NILA) has been accepted as a member of the UK Search and Rescue (UKSAR) Operators Group, a national body which represents search and rescue operators.

NILA has joined as a probationary member for a trial period of a year, enabling it to feed into national discussions about the provision of search and rescue across the UK alongside other national voluntary services such as Mountain Rescue England and Wales, Lowland Rescue, British Cave Rescue Council, RNLI and Surf Life Saving.

HM Coastguard is a key member of the UKSAR Operators Group and an important partner for independent lifeboats which it tasks for rescues.

Assistant Chief Coastguard Richard Hackwell said: “The UK Search and Rescue Operators Group is key to the effective delivery of search and rescue in the UK, and volunteers are a critical part of that response.

“We are pleased to have NILA onboard to represent the independent lifeboats, their volunteers and the important work they do.”

Representatives from NILA will join expert working groups which help to develop advice and operational guidance on specific subjects to support search and rescue in the UK.

NILA currently has 31 active members but is aware there are more units which operate lifeboats and rescue boats which may benefit from its work and representation.

It hopes that inclusion in the UKSAR Operators Group will help to expand its membership to more independent teams.

NILA has also become a member of the National Water Safety Forum’s coastal working group and will now benefit from messaging such as the Respect the Water campaign.

Neil Dalton, NILA Chairman, said: “Probationary membership has come with a lot of work by the trustees of NILA and we would like to thank HM Coastguard and the UKSAR Operators Group for their support with our application.

“We look forward to working with them to keep the waters around the UK a safer place to use and preventing deaths and serious injury on the water.”

Notes to Editors

The National Independent Lifeboat Association (NILA) was set up as a representative body in 2022 in response to independent lifeboats around the UK looking to increase awareness of their existence. With the help and support of Anthony Mangnall MP and the NILA board of trustees, the organisation has successfully managed to recruit 31 members and has gained charity status. Members keep their independence but NILA can provide a much-needed national voice.

For more information please contact Secretary on 07494 124795.

For more information on the UK Search and Rescue Operators Group please visit