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Long hot summer led to 30 per cent increase in call-outs for volunteer lifeboats
RNLI crews say 2013 has been one of the busiest summers on record in the region with almost 600 callouts in the North of England.
Figures released today (Monday, September, 23) show the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews carried out 598 rescue launches in June, July and August – an increase of almost 30 per cent on the previous year.
The charity’s lifeguards in the north region, which patrol beaches at Sunderland, South Shields, Sandsend, Whitby, Saltburn, Redcar and Scarborough, among others, dealt with 1,408 incidents compared with 1,143 last summer.
The long and hot summer is one of the reasons for one of the RNLI’s busiest years. Only 2003, with 632 launches, and 2009, with 634 launches, were busier.
Across the whole of the UK and Republic of Ireland lifeboats launched 4,300 times – the most in 24 years – and lifeguards attended 14,814 incidents.
In contrast to the summer of 2012, which was the wettest for 100 years, this summer saw beachgoers basking in sunshine for days on end and temperatures topping 30 degrees celcius.
Gareth Wilson, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager in the north, said good summer weather generally led to a higher than average number of lifeboat launches.
He added: ‘The more people there are at the coast, going to the beach and taking to the water, the more calls there will be for RNLI assistance. Our volunteer lifeboat crews are at their busiest when the sun is shining and some stations were called out several times a day at the height of the summer to help people who got into trouble on a trip to the seaside.”
The busiest lifeboat stations in the North-East this summer were:
- Sunderland with 45 launches (45 in 2012)
- Redcar, with 45 launches (24 in 2012)
- Hartlepool with 30 launches (19 in 2012)
Among the people saved were swimmers in serious difficulty, children on inflatables, kayakers who overturned and people walking on the beach who became cut off by the tide.
Dave Cammish, Redcar RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘It’s been a hectic summer period for the volunteer crew members at Redcar and I can’t praise them enough for their commitment. July was particularly busy for us.
"There were countless times where the crew had to leave their families to enjoy the sunny weather and rush off to help people who got into difficulties on or in the sea.
"Over one weekend alone we launched five times, dealing with everything from people cut off by the tide to children being blown out to sea in a toy inflatable."
The sunny weather has also meant an increase in visitors to beaches in the north of England and the charity’s lifeguards have been very busy issuing safety advice, rescuing people in difficulty in the water and locating missing children.
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