Record number of people rescued in 2011 by north of England RNLI lifeboat crews

More people than ever before were rescued by volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crews in the north of England last year. Figures issued today show a total of 1,237 people were helped, an increase of 3% on the previous high recorded in 2003.
 
There were 1,270 lifeboat launches from the north’s 33 lifeboat stations in 2011 – the second highest number in the history of the charity*. The busiest lifeboat crew in the north of England was Sunderland, who launched their two inshore lifeboats 111 times and rescued 135 people, followed by:
 
Fleetwood – 93 launches (54 inshore lifeboat; 39 all-weather lifeboat) rescuing 81 people
 
Hartlepool – 89 launches (57 inshore lifeboat; 32 all-weather lifeboat) rescuing 112 people
 
Tynemouth – 74 launches (38 inshore lifeboat; 36 all-weather lifeboat) rescuing 117 people
 
Cleethorpes – 62 launches (all inshore lifeboat) rescuing 52 people.
 
The summer of 2011 was also busy for RNLI lifeguards on beaches in Sefton; Tyneside; Sunderland; North Yorkshire; East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. They assisted a total of 1,936 people and dealt with 1,516 incidents.
 
Around the coast of the UK and Ireland, 2011 saw RNLI lifeboats launch 8,905 times and rescue 7,976 people. RNLI lifeguards assisted 17,671 people across the 163 UK beaches on which the charity operates.
 
In the north of England, 25% of the launches (323) were to power pleasure craft; 19% (243) to people in the water and 14% (174) to sail pleasure craft. The large proportion of launches to pleasure boats probably accounts for the high number of people rescued as such vessels often contain groups, explained RNLI Divisional Inspector, North, Andy Clift.
 
He adds: ‘Last year we saw a 22% increase in people rescued compared to 2010 and a 3% rise from the previous high. In all, 1,237 people were helped in some way by our lifeboat crews in the north of England and I am sure they and their friends and family will join me in thanking our volunteers for the dedication they demonstrate time and time again to saving lives at sea.
 
‘But of course, without the amazing generosity of the people who support our charity, either financially or by giving up their time to help raise funds, the RNLI’s lifeboatmen and women would be unable to carry out their lifesaving work. We receive less than 2% of our income from government sources and so depend almost entirely on the generosity of the public. A big thank you must go to all of them for their continued support.’
 
The biggest cause of requests for RNLI help in 2011 was machinery failure – 24% (308) of launches in the north were to recreational or commercial vessels which had broken down.
 
RNLI Operations Director Michael Vlasto comments:
 
‘It’s essential for us to look behind the figures as our charity puts a lot of effort into helping prevent emergencies in the first place. We do this through our safety education programmes and campaigns – another of the ways we aim to save lives at sea. When you realise that machinery failure is a major cause of lifeboat launches you can see why we’re keen that all boat users, whether commercial or recreational, make sure they maintain their vessels properly. The RNLI has mechanics at every lifeboat station – we’d never ask our volunteers to put to sea without knowing our vessels are in a seaworthy condition – and nor should anyone else.’
 
The RNLI rescue statistics also illustrate the impact weather has on the demands placed on the charity. April 2011 was the warmest April in the UK for 100 years** and was also the busiest April ever in RNLI lifeboat history, with lifeboat launches that month almost doubling to 1,029 compared to 672 in 2010. In the north, the April launch figure was 150, compared to 84 the previous year. October, also warmer than average, was another record breaking month for lifeboat crews in the north, with 135 launches compared to 68 in 2010. During the traditionally-busy summer months, though, which saw cooler than average temperatures, lifeboat launches were a little lower than in many previous years.
 
Michael Vlasto adds: ‘Even though many of the summer months were less than seasonal, overall our services were as busy as ever in the UK and Ireland. People seem to make the most of our islands’ coastal environment despite the weather, and 2011 saw a 10% jump in the number lifeboat launches to “people in the sea” compared to 2010 – from 1,438 to 1,592. And people finding themselves “cut off by the tide” led to 346 rescue launches – up more than 20% on the previous year. The message is clear, plan your trip to the coast and make sure you’re aware of local conditions and, importantly, local tide-times – it could save your life.’
Record number of people rescued in 2011 by north of England RNLI lifeboat crewsTynemouth RNLINews2011,Lifeboat,Lifeboats,number,people,Record,rescued,rescues,RNLI,TynemouthMore people than ever before were rescued by volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crews in the north of England last year. Figures issued today show a total of 1,237 people were helped, an increase of 3% on the previous high recorded in 2003.   There were 1,270 lifeboat launches from...The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea