Exmouth lifeboat station named third busiest in South West

EXMOUTH has been named as the third busiest lifeboat station in the South West, the RNLI this week revealed.

EXMOUTH has been named as the third busiest lifeboat station in the South West, the RNLI this week revealed.

Figures released by the RNLI show 2009 was the busiest year on record for the charity's South West volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards.

The figures have been released in the same week the sea-safety charity holds its biggest fundraising event - SOS Day.

Exmouth's lifeboat last year launched 95 times and rescued 59 people, the results show.

Exmouth lifeboat operations manager Kevin Riley said: "It was totally right for the RNLI and our supporters to invest in the fundraising and building of the new station, especially concerning the changes in the river and the importance of 24-hour cover for the all-weather lifeboat.

"I would also like to thank the volunteer crew and deputy launching team for all they have done providing 24-hour cover for 365 days a year - not forgetting their families and employers who provide such vital support and understanding.

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"The people of Exmouth and visitors appreciate what is done by the team and give us great support and I thank them one and all."

The RNLI's 35 lifeboat stations in the south west launched a total of 1,648 times during 2009, rescuing 1,687 people.

RNLI lifeguards patrolling over 90 beaches across Cornwall, Devon and Dorset dealt with 10,253 incidents and assisted 12,357 people on the beach - the highest number since the service began in 2001.

The busiest lifeboat station in the south west was Poole, in Dorset, where the volunteer crews launched some 200 times, rescuing 242 people.

Second busiest was Falmouth, in Cornwall, where the inshore and all-weather lifeboat crews put to sea for 102 emergencies.

This week the charity is calling on the public to respond to its own call for help by supporting RNLI SOS Day, on Friday January 29.

Adrian Carey, RNLI divisional inspector for the south west, said public fund raising efforts would help the RNLI go on saving lives in what the charity predicts will be the most difficult year since the current economic downturn began.

He said: "The rising number of incidents in the south west illustrates the demands being put on our volunteer lifeboat crews, especially during the summer season.

"With people choosing to holiday at home during this recession our inshore lifeboats in particular, have got increasingly busy. But this means added cost to our charity and if economic trends continue, we are in for another busy year in 2010 so will need yet more financial help.

"It's worth noting that half of all our launches last year were to sailing vessels and leisure motor boats. It's for this reason that the RNLI's volunteer sea safety team work with boat owners to promote simple ideas to help avoid incidents. I would urge people to seek their advice and avoid becoming one of our statistics.