In 2016 Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboats in the north of England launched more than 1,000 times. As the Easter holidays approach, and in a bid to reduce this year’s rescue statistics, the charity is urging people to take extra care at the coast.
RNLI statistics issued today (Wednesday 29 March) show that volunteer lifeboat crews at the 33 lifeboat stations* in the north of England launched 1,032 times last year, an increase of more than 8% on 2015 when there were 954 launches. The charity’s lifeguards on 38 beaches in the north* also saw an increase in the incidents that they attended with 2,398 incidents in 2016 compared to 2,065 in 2015.
Nationally, the number of lifeboat launches around the coast has increased from 2015 to 8,851 in 2016 (a five year high) and lifeguard incidents are also at an increase from last year to 17,414. The charity’s lifesavers saved 558 people’s lives last year and helped nearly 30,000 people.
Following the release of the statistics, the charity wants to equip more people with the knowledge and skills to avoid trouble in the first place and to understand what to do should they find themselves or others in danger in the water.
Darren Lewis, RNLI Lifesaving Manager said: ‘In 2016, our charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards in the north of England saved 64 lives. The figures from last year show immense dedication by our volunteer lifesavers but the increase in lifeboat launches and incidents dealt with by our lifeguards highlights the need for people to be extra vigilant in or around water.
‘Our charity promotes safety messages all year round via interactive campaigns such as Respect the Water and Hit the Surf. Through these initiatives we have equipped thousands of people with invaluable lifesaving tips. With Easter just around the corner, it’s the ideal time to remind people that to have an enjoyable time at the coast, they need to treat it with respect. A little preparation beforehand and knowing what to do if you do get into trouble can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.’
Top safety tips for people visiting the coast include:
· Familiarising yourself with tide times before setting off
· Always letting someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be return
· The correct way to raise the alarm if you do get into difficulty – by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard
· To always swim at a lifeguarded beach
The charity’s lifeguards will be returning to many beaches during April with safety patrols operating through to September. For a list of season dates please visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches
Darren added: ‘We’d always urge people to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards are highly trained and are able to deal with anything from locating missing children through to lifesaving rescues. They’re always happy to offer friendly safety advice and this provides beach users with extra peace of mind.’
The 2016 statistics also show in the north of England an increase of lifeboat launches to people who got into difficulty ashore, with incidents rising almost 16% from 240 in 2015 to 278 in 2016. This highlights how people need to take extra care on coastal walks or whilst walking their dogs near the sea.
The busiest lifeboat crew in the north of England in 2016 was Sunderland which launched its inshore lifeboats 100 times, followed by:
Blackpool – 84 launches
Tynemouth – 75 launches
Humber – 67
Fleetwood – 55