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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Life in a Year of the RNLI 2013

Compilation of rescue footage captured by RNLI lifeboats, lifeguards and Flood Rescue Teams in 2013.

Penlee's score for the year was 58 shouts - 35 for the IRB and 23 for the Ivan Ellen.

The scorching summer, stormy autumn and chilly spring of 2013 saw volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crews in the north of England rescue more than 1,000 people. Statistics issued today (Tuesday 28 January) show there were 1,028 rescue launches from the charity’s 33 lifeboat stations in the north of England* last year. A total of 1,027 people were rescued. RNLI lifeguards on 29 beaches in the north responded to 2,252 incidents and helped 2,803 people.**

The long hot summer of 2013 meant it was one of the busiest summers ever for the RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers, with 58% of the year’s rescues (598) occurring in June, July and August. Conversely, an exceptionally cold spring and stormy autumn may have kept people away from the water, reducing the number of call outs during these times.***

The north’s RNLI lifeboat stations also took a battering during the high winds of early December. Several were flooded by the storm surge while others suffered damage which is costing the charity thousands of pounds to repair.

RNLI Divisional Operations Manager in the north of England, Andrew Ashton, said the rescue statistics highlight the vital work carried out by the charity’s volunteer lifeboat men and women.

He said: ‘In 2013, more than 1,000 people returned home safely thanks to the RNLI’s lifeboat crews in the north of England. Our volunteers save lives day in, day out, whatever the weather and when their pagers go off, they have no idea what might face them out at sea – they could be going to the aid of a drowning child, a person cut off by the tide or a boat owner whose vessel has broken down.

‘The range of incidents our crews respond to is reflected in the amount of training they carry out – last year, for every hour they spent at sea on a rescue, they spent another three and a half on a training exercise.**** This is a mark of their true commitment to their lifesaving role.’

The 2013 statistics show that machinery failure was the most common cause of rescue (246 launches - 24% of the total), with people in danger of drowning being the second most common cause (110 launches - 10.7%).

There has been a slight rise (1%) in rescue launches compared to last year, while the number of people rescued has increased by 7.7%, from 953. Of the total number of people rescued, 107 (10.4%) were under the age of 18.

The busiest lifeboat crew in the north of England in 2013 was Sunderland, who launched their two inshore lifeboats 89 times and rescued 84 people, followed by:

Blackpool – 78 launches rescuing 12 people 
Tynemouth – 64 launches rescuing 76 people 
Whitby – 53 launches rescuing 79 people 
Hartlepool – 52 launches rescuing 89 people 

2013’s hot summer also meant the charity’s lifeguards were kept extremely busy treating everything from minor cuts and bruises through to performing major first-aid and lifesaving rescues. 

The busiest RNLI lifeguarded beach in the north was Bridlington South beach where lifeguards responded to 162 incidents and helped 165 people, followed by: 

Longsands, Tyneside – 158 incidents helping 203 people 
Cullercoats, Tyneside – 150 incidents helping 201 people 
Ainsdale, Sefton – 146 incidents helping 212 people 
Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire – 124 incidents helping 133 people 

As 95% of a lifeguard’s role is preventative, the teams also advised over 434,000 people about beach and water safety.

Across the UK and Ireland, 2013 saw RNLI lifeboats launch 8,304 times, rescuing 8,384 people. RNLI lifeguards responded to 19,594 incidents around the coast and rescued 1,567 people.

Mr Ashton added: ‘The rescue statistics show that machinery failure is the most common reason for our lifeboats to be called. Boat owners could help keep themselves safe - and reduce the number of RNLI launches - by making some simple checks on their engines before they go to sea, including ensuring they have enough fuel for their journey. I would urge anyone who spends time on or near the sea to look at the free safety advice available at www.rnli.org/seasafety

‘Of course, RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards wouldn’t be able to carry out any rescues without the incredible generosity of the public and I would like to say a big “thank you” to all those who support our charity, whether by giving up their time, making a donation or pledging a legacy. Without them, the RNLI simply couldn’t continue our vital lifesaving work.’ Friday 31 January 2014 is RNLI SOS Day – the charity’s community fundraising day. For more information log on to www.rnli.org/sos