Skegness lifeboats '2nd busiest' in The North in 2009

Monday 25 January 2010

Author: Alison Levett

Skegness lifeboats '2nd busiest' in The North in 2009
As figures are released today (Monday 25 January) showing volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution crews in the north of England had their busiest year on record in 2009, the charity is calling on the public to support its biggest day of fundraising, RNLI SOS Day, on Friday 29 January. 

RNLI crews in the north of England rescued 961 people and launched 1,282 times last year – a 24 per cent increase in launches on 2008 and a three per cent rise on the previous busiest year, 2003. 

The busiest lifeboat station in the charity’s north division was Sunderland RNLI, with 101 launches, followed by Skegness (82); Hartlepool (81); Blackpool (76) and Fleetwood (73).

During the November floods in Cumbria, the RNLI also helped more than 200 Cockermouth residents reach safety in some of the worst conditions the charity’s specialist Flood Rescue Team had ever encountered.

Across the UK and Ireland, crews also had their busiest year in the RNLI’s 186-year history, launching 9,154 times and rescuing 8,186 people. The charity’s lifeguards responded to 13,588 incidents and assisted 15,954 people – the highest number since the service began in 2001. 

RNLI lifeguards were operating in the north of England for the first time in 2009, patrolling beaches in Tyne and Wear, North and East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Together, they dealt with 1,468 incidents and helped 1,508 people.

The RNLI is now calling on the public to support SOS Day on Friday, 29 January. Many events have already been planned across the region but there is still time to get involved or make a donation, said RNLI Divisional Inspector, North, Andy Clift. 

He added: ‘It is clear that families and businesses are tightening their belts and many people are suffering from the effects of the current economic downturn but we hope the public will still get behind our volunteer crews and lifeguards on RNLI SOS Day. As a charity that depends on the public for its funding, we appeal to as many people as possible to support us on SOS Day by organising a fundraising event, attending one or simply making a donation. For more information and ideas of how to help, log onto www.rnli.org.uk/sos.’

The record breaking RNLI rescue figures of 2009 may have been partly caused by the economic situation, added Mr Clift.

‘We suspect more people stayed in the UK and Ireland instead of taking holidays abroad in 2009, impacting on the demands made on our lifeboat volunteers and lifeguards. When we examine rescue figures for the last 10 years they show a general increase in coastal recreation in the north of England while calls to fishing vessels in difficulty - once a major cause of RNLI launches – have decreased.’

The most common type of casualty last year was people in the sea - swimmers, divers and people who have fallen into the water - (292 launches), followed by power pleasure craft in trouble (290 launches).

RNLI Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, said:

‘As a charity that is totally reliant on the public for funds, we have to be prudent and plan ahead to ensure we can continue to provide a 24/7 rescue service that keeps people safe around our shores. This means analysing what type of rescue work we are called out to and what services might be required of this lifesaving charity in the future. I cannot thank the public enough for their continued support and I hope they will remember RNLI SOS Day, this Friday 29 January.’

To take part in RNLI SOS Day and for inspiring fundraising ideas or to simply make a donation log on to http://www.rnli.org.uk/sos or call 0845 121 4999.

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