By Allan Fuller
In acknowledgement of the support given by the RNLI to the University Boat Race, it has been named as the official charity partner of the event for 2022.
Since 2002, the RNLI’s Chiswick Lifeboat Station has supported The Boat Race with its E-class lifeboat. The crew are on hand to keep The Boat Race competitors safe, as well as the spectators who line the banks of the Thames on race day.
In 2016, the RNLI bolstered its lifesaving service with the addition of nine Arancia-class lifeboats crewed by lifeguards. These are strategically positioned along the Championship Course to keep the public safe while the tide is incoming.
This is an extension of the partnership which began in 2019, with the aim of increasing awareness of the RNLI’s flagship ‘float to live’ drowning prevention campaign. In addition, this year the RNLI’s Community Safety team will be working with venues and schools along the course to provide lifesaving water safety training and encourage familiarity with throwlines. The partnership aims to raise funds to support the Thames’ lifesaving service with all proceeds going towards the running costs of the four RNLI stations along the river.
Wayne Bellamy, Station Manager for RNLI Chiswick, said, ‘2022 will be the twentieth year that my crew and I have supported The Boat Race, and kept competitors and spectators safe. This year also happens to be our station’s 20th birthday.
In that time, we have launched over 4,000 times and rescued almost 2,000 people, and on behalf of our 100 volunteer crew, fundraisers, and water safety team, I would like to thank you for your continued support of the RNLI at Chiswick.’
Crews from both sides are already in the thick of training for The Boat Race on Sunday 3 April 2022 and after two years without a race along the normal course, are eager to welcome spectators to London once again.
The 76th Women’s and 167th Men’s Boat Race will take place with the former starting at 2:23pm and the latter scheduled to begin at 3:23pm.
If you would like to support the Boat Race and RNLI Thames crews, you can donate here.
For information on how to stay safe on or near water or find out more about their work, visit Chiswick RNLI’s.