Southampton port bosses have marked the 200th anniversary of the RNLI by funding a new lifeboat.

A £100,000 donation made by Associated British Ports (ABP) will be used to build a D-Class vessel that will help keep the seas safe.

The craft will be built at the RNLI’s Inshore Lifeboat Centre in Cowes and based somewhere in the UK.

ABP's chief executive officer, Henrik Pedersen, said: "Safety is of paramount importance to ABP and this is a value we share with the RNLI.

"We deeply value the work done by RNLI volunteers to save lives and raise awareness around water safety.

"I am proud to say that many of our colleagues are part of these lifesaving crews and we are delighted to be able to support their mission with the purchase of this new lifeboat.”

The donation will fund the construction of the new lifeboat - ABP One - and the training costs associated with the vessel.

The project is part of a much broader partnership between the two organisations.

Jamie Chestnutt, the RNLI's engineering and supply director, said: "The RNLI's relationship with Associated British Ports is long-standing.

"I am delighted to see this partnership go from strength to strength with a continued focus on providing our crews with best-in-class facilities.

"It's partnerships such as this that allow the RNLI to continue to save lives at sea.”

ABP is raising awareness of water safety issues by sharing stories of staff who volunteer with the RNLI, running a water safety poster competition for families, and distributing floating keyrings to mariners and colleagues.

Mike McCartain, group director for safety, marine and engineering, said: “I have personally supported the RNLI for nearly five decades.

"Over the course of this time, I have seen the bravery of crews as they go out in all weather conditions with one goal in mind - to save lives.

“I'm proud that ABP is able to support the RNLI with the build of this new lifeboat."

The RNLI has saved more than 146,000 lives since the charity launched its first lifeboat in 1824.

A spokesperson said: "Across our 200-year history, RNLI lifesavers have answered the call to rescue. If someone is in peril at sea, the RNLI will do all it can to save them."