This paper explores the symbiotic relationship between place and identity. On one hand it asks what role place plays in the formation of identity. On the other hand it asks how place itself is invested with meaning by actors. This theoretical concept of ‘place-identity’ is analysed through the case of volunteer lifeboaters in the Republic of Ireland, to illustrate how place itself is socially constructed so as to acquire a range of social meanings which interact in a recursive relationship with identity over time. The particularity of dangerous maritime places is shown to shape identity, whilst those places are shown to be bound up with a mosaic of other factors (such as history, family and community) which make them meaningful. The paper theorizes a more social, temporal and dynamic relationship between place and identity than is offered by extant literature, and offers refinements to the concept of place-identity.