In a year of extreme weather, 2013 was a busy one for our lifesavers.
They faced the coldest Spring since 1962, the hottest Summer for 7 years and the windiest December since 1993, according to UK Met Office statistics.
But thanks to people like you, our lifeboat crews and lifeguards were able to answer the call for help.
They saved 425 lives.
That’s 425 people who wouldn’t be here today without their help, countless friends and family who would never have been the same again.
In 2013 volunteers launched 8,304 times around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland, rescuing 8,384 people and saving 325 lives.
Just one of these shouts kept Tobermory Coxswain Andrew McHaffie and his crew at sea for 11 hours in 60mph winds and 8m waves. They were kept warm and safe in the toughest conditions, thanks to supporters like you. They brought a fishing boat and her crew safely home, despite the tow rope snapping in rough, shallow waters.
Your help also brought the new all-weather Shannon class lifeboat to the water, with the first of her class Sir Jock and Annie Slater welcomed to the fleet in July 2013. Since then she has served as a relief lifeboat, helping crews such as those at Exmouth and Dungeness to train up on the latest equipment, ready for when Shannons arrived at their stations.
Our lifeguards responded to 19,594 incidents, rescuing 1,567 people and saving 100 lives in 2013. We'll never know how many more tragedies they prevented through warnings and advice.
We opened 19 additional beach patrols in 2013, but the water doesn’t wait for a lifeguard service to settle in. Thanks to the training and equipment you’ve helped provide, lifeguards were always ready, throughout the Summer.
RNLI lifeguards at Southwold, Suffolk, were just 2 days into their very first season when they faced a mass rescue situation. Together with lifeboat crews from Southwold, Lowestoft and Aldeburgh, they rescued 85 swimmers from an open water race in 2 hours.
Our Flood Rescue Teams remain ready to respond to flooding emergencies across the UK and Republic of Ireland, facing particularly challenging conditions during the storms last Winter. In December 2013 they rescued 25 people trapped in their homes in North Wales.
Hundreds of volunteers stood by around the UK, often spending long hours on standby, away from their homes, ready to help out in the floods. Your support kept them as warm and dry as possible in miserable conditions.
Commercial fisherman Sam Cully had never worn a lifejacket at sea, until he received a personal flotation device (PFD) as part of a scheme involving the RNLI. Within the same month, Sam’s fishing boat sank off the Co Down coast in September 2013, leaving him fighting for his life in the cold sea.
The PFD saved his life. The Portaferry lifeboat crew, who had launched along with Donaghadee, spotted exhausted Sam and pulled him aboard before his head went below the waves.
We don’t always get stories where the impact of prevention work is so clear – we’ll never know how many lives have been saved by the schemes you’ve funded. But with over 315,000 schoolchildren reached by our education volunteers and 750 PFDs given to fishermen by the end of 2013, we know we have had an impact for life.
This was lifesaving powered by you.
Your support today will help train and equip our lifesavers so that they're ready for anything.
If you’d like to find out a bit more about 2013 in numbers, read our Annual Review and more, head to our 2013 in Review pages.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland | RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 1073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240, RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 and RNLI College Ltd - 7705470 are all companies registered in England and Wales at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ. Images & copyright © RNLI 2014.