Whitby Lifeboat

 

Second record year for RNLI lifesavers in the north of England

The following text is replicated here courtesy of the Beverley Guardian.

Published Date: 28 September 2009

Preliminary figures* issued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) show the charity's lifesavers in the north of England have had their second busiest summer on record.

Preliminary figures* issued today (23 Sept) by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) show the charity's lifesavers in the north of England have had their second busiest summer on record.

RNLI lifeboats in the north launched 522 times in June, July and August, an 18 per cent increase on last summer when there were 522 rescue launches. Only the long hot summer of 2003 was busier, with 632 launches.

In their first season of operation, RNLI lifeguards in the north dealt with 965 incidents – 2009 saw the charity take on responsibility for lifeguarding from local authorities in South Tyneside, Sunderland, Scarborough, East Yorkshire and East Lindsey.

The busiest lifeboat station in the north this summer was Skegness, with 56 rescue launches, followed by Hartlepool (46), Sunderland (44), Fleetwood (34), Blackpool (33) and Mablethorpe (32). The busiest beach was also Skegness, where RNLI lifeguards dealt with 200 incidents, followed by Mablethorpe (162) and Scarborough South Bay (136). RNLI lifeguards based in Tyne and Wear recorded 193 incidents across three beaches.

Andy Clift, RNLI Divisional Inspector of Lifeboats, North, says the increase in rescues at the coast this summer may be due to higher numbers of people taking day trips and holidays in this country rather than travelling abroad.

He added: 'In the past, rescues have generally risen during hot summers when more people travel to the coast and use the sea for leisure activities. However, we think the trend for holidaying at home may have had an impact this summer because even though the weather has not been particularly good, beaches have been busy and so have some of our volunteer lifeboat crews.

'The incidents they deal with range from rescuing exhausted surfers and children on inflatables to helping fishermen and yachtsman in difficulties at sea. Whatever the cause of the rescues, all demand a high level of training and dedication from our lifeboat volunteers to ensure they are always ready to help those in trouble when the call comes.'

A number of rescues have been carried out jointly by RNLI lifeguards and lifeboat crews this summer and the charity's lifesaving teams have worked well together to help keep beach goers and sea users safe.

Matt Horton, RNLI Divisional Inspector of Lifeguards, says: 'Despite the poor weather we have had a busy season and we are very pleased with the service we have been able to provide and the way our lifeguards have operated.

'We have received some great feedback from the public and the lifeguards have had to deal with a number of significant incidents, including the rescue of three young boys who were caught in a rip current while swimming at West Cliff beach in Whitby.

'RNLI lifeguards received extensive training before the start of the season and have used this to great effect, providing a preventative service on 14 beaches in the north of England. Our season has now ended but we are already looking forward to maintaining and improving the RNLI lifeguard service in the region next year.'

Around the UK and Ireland this summer, RNLI lifeboats launched nearly 4,000 times (3,979) during June, July and August (3,823 in 2008) while the charity's lifeguards responded to 10,237 (8,114 in 2008) over the same period.

As a charity, the RNLI relies totally on the support and generosity of the public to fund its lifeboat service. It costs £1,200 per year to train a crew member and £1,000 per season to train and equip a lifeguard.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the charity can log on to web page or call 0800 543210.

The RNLI offers free all-year-round safety advice for sea users and beach visitors.

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