Fly the flag
Find a classic keepsake
from our Heritage Flag range
Found on the side of all our lifeboats and flying outside every lifeboat station, the RNLI flag is the symbol of saving lives at sea. It’s been our official flag since 1908. You can hold your own piece of RNLI history and commemorate 200 years of lifesaving with one of these classic keepsakes.

History of the RNLI flag

The design of the RNLI flag was, fittingly, inspired by a rescue.
In 1882, Ramsgate lifeboat volunteers launched to the rescue when a vessel became grounded on the Goodwin Sands. They rescued nine people from the wreckage, including Robert Preston. Two years later, to show her gratitude for the brave lifeboat crew, Robert’s sister, Leonora Preston, designed a flag for the RNLI.

Leonora used the St George’s cross as the basis for the flag, adding a dark blue border and red RNLI lettering. In the centre of the flag, she placed a Tudor crown and a foul anchor, signifying the charity’s dedication to the sea and its Royal Charter. In 1908, it became the RNLI’s official flag, and it has been ever since.