Isle of Wight RNLI lifeboat volunteers spent more than 1,500 hours helping save lives in 2012.
Volunteer crew members at RNLI lifeboat stations on the Isle of Wight collectively spent more than 1,500 hours helping people in distress at sea in 2012, the charity has announced.
Annual statistics released by the lifesaving organisation today (Tuesday) have revealed that altogether, the lifeboats at Cowes, Bembridge and Yarmouth carried out 147 launches and rescued a total of 241 people. And, although not a significant increase, this is slightly higher than 2011′s figure of 142 launches and 184 people rescued.
The statistics have prompted a huge vote of thanks from the RNLI’s top brass, to employers, families, and friends of all those volunteer crew members who regularly drop everything to respond to their pager and help save lives at sea.
The figures show it was another busy 12 months for the island, in a year when HM The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee with a visit to officially open the newly built Cowes RNLI Lifeboat Station. The volunteer crew at Cowes launched 61 times, Bembridge crew launched 40 times, and Yarmouth crew launched 46 times. They rescued, respectively, 126 people, 51 people, and 64 people.
Out of the RNLI’s total 236 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and ROI, Cowes were ranked the 28th busiest, Yarmouth 52nd, and Bembridge 65th – all fell within the top third of the busiest lifeboat stations nationally.
Andrew Ashton, Regional Operations Manager for the RNLI, said the figures represent a huge commitment by the many volunteers that each lifeboat station relies on: ‘Not only is the RNLI grateful to our volunteers for all that they do, we’d also like to express sincere thanks to everyone whose lives are impacted by our crew members when they respond to emergencies.
‘Whether it’s a spouse left holding the baby, a partner woken in the night by a crew member’s pager, an employer who allows their staff member to down tools, or a kind colleague who fills in when their workmate rushes off to the lifeboat station, they all deserve our thanks for helping us help others in distress.’
Among the emergencies that the island’s RNLI lifeboat crews responded to in 2012 were:
* Bembridge launched to assist the captain of a 274m oil tanker after he fell on deck and broke his ankle. The captain was evacuated from the tanker by the lifeboat crew on a stretcher and taken back to shore for medical help.
* Yarmouth launched to a wooden yacht whose mast had snapped off in gale force winds, leaving its crew at the mercy of a rough sea.
* Cowes launched to a lone dinghy sailor being buffeted onto sharp rocks and taking on water in 45 knot winds.
* Yarmouth lifeboat assisted two teenage girls.in difficulty on treacherous clay cliffs after a coastguard team’s rescue attempt was foiled by the unstable terrain.
* Cowes launched to no less than eight separate incidents in June during the Round the Island Yacht race.
Overall in 2012, RNLI lifeboats launched 8,321, down 6.7% from 2011, and assisted 7,912 people, down 0.8% from 2011. More than a third of these launches were carried out during the hours of darkness. 2012 was also a busy year for the RNLI’s Flood Rescue Team and for the charity’s lifeguards on more than 100 beaches, responding to 14,519 incidents and helping 16,414 people in total.
Richard Weeks continued: ’2012 was yet another busy year for our lifeboats, and we’re grateful to everyone who contributes and donates to the RNLI. As a charity that relies on voluntary contributions every penny helps us do what we do and enables our volunteers to assist those in distress.’
To find out more about the RNLI charity, visit www.rnli.org.uk website.
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