Sir William Hillary, a retired soldier who lived on the Isle of Man, was the visionary behind the formation of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (later the RNLI) in 1824.
Before the formation of the Institution, a few dozen local lifesaving stations had been set up but there was no co-ordinated national rescue organisation for saving lives at sea.
Sir William was inspired to seek a change when he witnessed the crew of HM Vigilant and the fishermen who had gone to their aid being in mortal danger near his home, and was appalled that such a thing could happen.
He decided to take action himself and establish a national rescue organisation.
In 1823, he wrote a pamphlet as an appeal to the nation for the foundation of a national co-ordinated lifeboat service. He managed to gain patronage from King George IV and the Prime Minister at the time, Robert Peel.
He was also further supported by many important figures of the period as he targeted both the Navy and government.
As a result, the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was formed.
The charity was renamed Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in 1854.