Storms, cargo ships, excited puppies: Your RNLI highlights of 2016

2016 has been quite a year. And as we settle in for the TV news reviews, our thoughts turn to what’s been happening here at the RNLI.

Mollie Hunt lifeboat crashing through waves

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

We continued the rollout of the Shannon class lifeboat. We sent out safety messages through the Respect the Water campaign. And, of course, RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards carried out courageous rescues all around our coasts.

This morning, we’ve dug into our statistics and picked out some of the most popular RNLI stories of 2016 – the ones you read, commented on and shared. Here are your highlights – the kinds of stories we’ll be able to share with everyone who’s opted in to our lifesaving community:

27 January: Appledore and Padstow’s 34-hour rough-sea mission

A joint effort by these West Country crews to prevent a 91m loaded cargo ship from running aground.

Read the full story.

3 February: Dun Laoghaire bring 200 tonnes of trawler home

The call came at 2.50am on Wednesday 3 February. In a strong gale, a 25m trawler had suffered a fouled propeller while her six crew fished for scallops ...

Read on.

4 February: Puppy found a mile out to sea after 4 days

When Storm chased a seagull into the sea, he got a little too excited and kept on swimming. Like Paw Patrol, Hastings were on the case.

Read more in the Mirror.

16 February: Force 11 in the Hebrides

When Islay lifeboat crew launched to a yachtsman in treacherous seas and force 11 winds, they couldn’t have known that their courage would result in a life saved that night - or a Medal for Gallantry.

Read the full story

25 April: Another Scottish Medal awarded

‘The storm that hit right about the time we arrived at the Norholm was one of the worst I’ve seen for a long time.’ Lochinver and Thurso crews worked together in dangerous conditions to save a cargo ship in December 2015. Their courage and determination were recognised this year.

Read what happened on the night.

7 June: Dover and Walmer help rescue 34 missing teens

A group of teenagers and two adults got lost with a rising tide on a coastal walk in Kent. Our lifeboat crews worked with the Coastguard helicopter to find and rescue all 36 people.

Read and see video.

13 July: BBC Saving Lives at Sea

This Summer, lifeboat crews from England, Scotland and Wales featured in a four-part BBC documentary, Saving Lives at Sea. Live rescue footage and candid interviews with crews and people rescued made for a powerful and emotional way to spend a Wednesday evening – we certainly shed a tear or two.

If you missed it, it’s not available for free on iPlayer any more, but you can see some clips here.

20 August: Lone sailor stranded in severe gale

We see a lot of video of rough seas here at RNLI HQ, but this one from Castletownbere made us feel quite queasy. The lifeboat crew had breakfast interrupted for 12 hours at sea when a yachtsman sent in a distress call.

Read more.

2 December: The epic Nafsiporos rescue, 50 years on

Drifting in a raging storm in the middle of the Irish Sea, the crew of the stricken Greek freighter, Nafsiporos, feared they’d never see their families again. Now, 50 years on, one of the sailors thanks the lifeboat crews who saved his life.

See more.

9 December: There’s a wee baby one!

You’re going to want the sound on for this one. Dunbar lifeboat crew get VERY excited when joined by dolphins on a training exercise.

And that’s how we’re choosing to remember 2016. Gallantry recognised, storms faced down, families reunited, and a grown man who just loves a baby dolphin.

Don’t forget, from 1 January we will only be able to share stories like these with you if we have your permission to do so. You can choose to hear from us by email, by phone, by post, or by any combination of the three – it’s up to you.

Thank you for all your support this year. We wish you a safe New Year’s Eve and a happy and healthy 2017.