Busy year at lifeboat station
EXMOUTH lifeboat station was last year the second busiest station in the south west, figures released by the RNLI show. The town's lifeboat station launched 125 times and the RNLI said the overall 2008 figures showed a rise in the number of call-outs to f
EXMOUTH lifeboat station was last year the second busiest station in the south west, figures released by the RNLI show.The town's lifeboat station launched 125 times and the RNLI said the overall 2008 figures showed a rise in the number of call-outs to fishing vessels.The publication of the 2008 annual rescue statistics coincides with the RNLI's biggest fundraising day of the year, SOS Day - launched on Friday, January 30.Now the charity is calling on the public to respond to its own call for help by supporting the SOS Day.With the number of people rescued by lifeboats in the south west rising by more than 200 - a 14 per cent increase on 2007 - and the charity's lifeguards assisting a total of 9,801 people on the beach, the RNLI said the need to raise funds was vital. Simon Pryce, RNLI Divisional Inspector for the south west, said public fundraising would help the RNLI to go on saving lives at sea. "On average, the volunteer lifeboat crews and the RNLI lifeguards in the south west helped 31 people a day in 2008 and over the last five years our lifesaving charity has actually rescued more than 47,000 people around the UK and the Republic of Ireland," he said. "I hope these figures will explain why we need continued support from the public at a time when many may be feeling the financial pinch. "Many of those we assist would not have survived their ordeal without the bravery, skill and training of our volunteer lifeboat crews and our lifeguards."Poole, in Dorset, was the busiest station last year - the volunteer crews were launched 156 times and rescued 213 people.Falmouth, in Cornwall, was rated third busiest, with the inshore and all-weather lifeboats being launched 104 times. Figures show the RNLI's 35 lifeboat stations in the south west launched 1,567 times during 2008, rescuing 1,671 people and spending more than 2,150 hours at sea on emergency call outs alone. RNLI lifeguards, patrolling 89 beaches in the south west - including Exmouth and Sandy Bay - dealt with 8,423 incidents, assisted 9,801 people and saved 39 lives. To take part in RNLI SOS Day or to make a donation, log on to www.rnli.org.uk/sos or call 0845 1214999.