The income of the RNLI rose from £172.9m to £174.7m in 2012, according to accounts filed with the Charity Commission last week.
The total of resources expended was £148.9m during the year, the accounts show.
The charity’s legacy income, its main source of funding, topped £100m for the first time. Legacies made up 58 per cent of the charity’s income and were worth £101.4m, up from £97.7m in the previous year.
At the end of the year, the charity had reserves of £613m, including a large portfolio of fixed assets, worth £344m. The charity says in the report that it had free reserves of £77.6m.
The accounts also show a loss of £3.8m on its defined-benefit pension fund, leaving it with a £24.9m pensions shortfall at the end of the year.
The charity’s lifeboats were launched 8,346 times in 2012, rescuing 7,964 people and saving 328 lives, the charity’s annual report says.