AS the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) celebrates 200 years, Porthdinllaen and Criccieth also celebrate big birthdays.

Monday, 4 March marks the 200th anniversary of the RNLI, and volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards.

In Gwynedd, the six stations have launched 6,912 times and saved 1,915 lives.

As well as the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, the charity is marking, Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Station’s 160th birthday and Criccieth’s 170th.

Since its founding in 1864, Porthdinllaen lifeboat has launched 941 times and the volunteer crew have saved 391 lives. Criccieth has launched 1,178 times, saving 277 lives. To celebrate Porthdinllaen’s 160th, a collection of historical images has been gathered to show how the station has changed over the years.

Two things have remained the same – the charity’s dependence on volunteers, who give their time and commitment to save others, and the voluntary contributions from the public which have funded the service for the past two centuries.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be at the helm of the RNLI for the past five years, and to see the charity reach its bicentenary. For a charity to have survived 200 years based on the time and commitment of volunteers, and the sheer generosity of the public donating to fund it, is truly remarkable. It is through the courage and dedication of its incredible people that the RNLI has survived the tests of time, including tragic losses, funding challenges, two World Wars and, more recently, a global pandemic.

“Today, we mark the bicentenary of the RNLI. We remember the achievements and commitment of all those who have been part of the RNLI family over the past two centuries; we celebrate the world-class lifesaving service we provide today, based on our 200 years of learning, expertise and innovation, and we hope to inspire future generations of lifesavers and supporters who will take the RNLI into its next century and beyond.

“I am immensely grateful to everyone who is involved with the charity – our volunteers, supporters and staff. This is our watch and it is our role to keep our charity safe and secure so it can continue to save lives into the future, as we strive in our vision to save every one.”

The RNLI was founded by Sir William Hillary, who witnessed the treacherous nature of the sea first-hand when living on the Isle of Man and wanted to take action.

Throughout this year, the RNLI will run events and activities to celebrate 200 years, and a Service of Thanksgiving will take place at Westminster Abbey on 4 March 2024 at 11.30am.