RNLI Thames rescue service unknown to most in London

Only 16% of Londoners know the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has a search and rescue service along the River Thames, a survey has found.

The RNLI says the statistic, from a You Gov poll, is surprising as it has rescued more than 2,500 people since it was established 10 years ago.

Tower lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge is also the charity's busiest station.

The emergency service says public awareness is crucial to its success.

The study showed that out of 1,137 Londoners questioned, only 16% named the RNLI when asked to spontaneously list the emergency services operating on the part of the River Thames that flows through London.

It also found that 67% felt the RNLI should provide a lifeboat service on the River Thames.

The survey aimed to establish the level of public awareness in London of the RNLI's four Thames lifeboat stations at Tower, Chiswick, Teddington and Gravesend.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI divisional inspector, said: "As a charity that relies on public donations to be able to launch lifeboats to assist people in distress, public awareness is crucial to us."

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