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Lifeboats called out 200 TIMES last year to help migrants in English Channel


The RNLI was called out 200 times to pick up migrants from small boats in the English Channel last year.

The revelation comes amid growing criticism from some that lifeboats and Border Force vessels are being increasingly used as a “glorified taxi service”.


UK officials say that under international maritime laws, they are required to respond to sightings of small migrant boats in the busy shipping lane, once those dinghies enter British waters.

His Majesty’s Coastguard has confirmed the number of callouts in 2022 after a Freedom of Information Request from local activist Steve Laws, who documents small boat arrivals and other asylum seeker issues.

In response, HM Coastguard said: “Of the confirmed incidents recorded by HMCG where persons were rescued from small boats in the English Channel in the year 2022, 200 of those incidents were recorded as having an RNLI asset associated with them.”

RNLI lifeboats can carry between 50 and 100 people.

At the lower end of the scale, it suggests that lifeboat crews may have picked up at least 10,000 people from the Channel last year.

Across the whole a 2022, a record 45,756 people crossed the English Channel in small boats.