Over 10,000 people rescued from UK waters by RNLI in 2014
Last year the RNLI’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards braved rough seas, stormy weather and rip currents to rescue an incredible 10,083 people. The busiest coastal station was Poole Lifeboat Station in Dorset, which launched its lifeboats 121 times.
Now the RNLI is calling for the public to think ahead and never underestimate the strength and power of the sea. It will be pushing ahead with its Respect the Water educational programme this year – in a bid to cut the number of drownings around the UK and Ireland’s coastline by 50% by 2024.
Headline figures from RMLI for 2014:
• The charity’s lifeboats launched 8,462 times
• Volunteer lifeboat crew rescued 8,727 people, 368 of which were classified as lives saved
• RNLI lifeguards attended 17,050 incidents
• 1,769 people were rescued by RNLI lifeguards, 92 of which were lives saved
• Overall, RNLI’s lifeguards helped 19,252 people both in and out of the water
It has been another busy year for RNLI lifesavers, with lifeboat crews launching 122 more times and rescuing 313 more people compared to 2013.
The busiest lifeboat station was Tower on the River Thames, which launched 543 times, rescuing 104 people followed by its neighbour Chiswick Lifeboat Station, which launched 219 times, rescuing 116 people. The busiest coastal station was Poole Lifeboat Station in Dorset, which launched its lifeboats 121 times.
The most common cause for lifeboat call outs was to boats with machinery failure, which accounted for 1,652 of all launches (19.5%). Overall, 23% of total launches (1,927) were to powered pleasure craft and 19% (1,607) to sailing pleasure craft, 8% (668) were to manual pleasure craft. Commercial and fishing boats accounted for 7% of launches (610).
Will Stephens, RNLI Head of Community Safety said: “The very nature of the sea means it is unpredictable and even the most competent water users can be caught out. Always be aware of the tide before taking to the water. Avoid areas where you could get swept off your feet in stormy weather and, if you’re visiting the coast, be sure to visit a lifeguarded beach during the summer months.”
In 2014 there were a number of notable call outs for lifeboat crews and lifeguards around the coast:
A 17-year-old crew member at Newquay lifeboat station proved his courage and selflessness when he slid between rocks and under water in a rising tide to free a nine-year-old girl who had become stuck between rocks while playing. Little did she know it was Tom Evans’ first service when he volunteered to squeeze between the rocks and cut her out of her wellies, allowing the rest of the crew to help pull her free.
In the north of England, two walkers were caught out by an unexpected wave which swept them into the sea at Staithes, leaving them both in fear of losing their lives. Talking to the RNLI they said: “It hit us like a train, and that’s the one that knocked both of us into the water… You can’t put into words our gratitude, thank you is not enough. It really isn’t. I still can’t get over that these guys put their lives at risk like that.”
George Rawlinson, RNLI Operations Director said: “RNLI volunteer lifeboat and shore crew and lifeguards have shown the commitment and courage we have come to rely on, but we must of course also thank our supporters and dedicated fundraisers, who work tirelessly to ensure our charity, which is dependent on donations from the public, can continue to keep launching our lifeboats and patrolling some of the coasts’ busiest beaches.”
Article written by Alison Clements
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