The National Independent Lifeboat Association provides a national voice for independent lifeboats in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
There are over 60 independent lifeboat organisations that operate along the coastline and on inland waterways across the United Kingdom. The National Independent Lifeboat Association was formed to promote and support these independent lifeboat organisations. The charity aims to create opportunities for collaboration, education and training, and to support organisational development. NILA currently has 31 member lifeboats, with St Abbs Lifeboat being one of the founder members.
Founded in 2022, NILA is supported by Members of Parliament, the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. NILA has been accepted as a member of the UK Search and Rescue (UKSAR) Operators Group, a national body which represents search and rescue operators. This enables it to feed into national discussions about the provision of search and rescue across the UK alongside other national voluntary services such as Mountain Rescue England and Wales, Lowland Rescue, British Cave Rescue Council, RNLI and Surf Life Saving.
St Abbs Lifeboat has benefitted from the collaborative approach, both receiving and contributing advice on operational and administrative issues through the network.