Fifty people returned home safe thanks to North Wales RNLI crews in 2016

Lifeboats News Release

Fifty people returned home to their families after being saved by RNLI crews across the north Wales coast last year.

RNLI/Chris Cousens

Lifeboat crews from Flint to Aberystwyth launched 536 times in 2016, a 15% increase in launches compared to the previous year. As well as the number of lifeboat launches being up, the volunteer crews rescued 562 people in trouble on the coast – 27% more than in 2015.

Across Wales RNLI volunteers saw an increase of 11% on lifeboats launches in 2016, rescuing 13% more people compared to 2015. RNLI lifeboats in Wales launched 1,175 times, rescuing 1,162 people and saved 73 lives.

Mumbles RNLI volunteers were the busiest lifeboat station in Wales for the second year running last year as the lifeboats launched 83 times and rescuing 95 people. The busiest North Wales station was Rhyl RNLI as the crews responded to 66 call-outs over the course of the year, rescuing 50 people and saving two lives.

The reason for the callouts varied from machinery failure, searching for missing people, rescuing those in danger of drowning and rescuing people cut off by the tide. The number of lives saved by Criccieth RNLI rocketed in 2016 as they saved 19 lives compared to three lives the previous year – the majority of those were coastal walkers cut off by the tide.

Matt Crofts, RNLI Lifesaving Manager said: ‘Prevention is key for the RNLI – helping people by providing communities with the skills and knowledge to help keep themselves safe when they visit the coast.

‘Our annual Respect the Water drowning prevention campaign will be launching again soon and we urge people to give water the healthy respect it deserves. While we will always answer the call for help, myself and everyone within the RNLI would like to see people thinking more about their safety whilst at the coast.

‘We’re calling on anyone visiting the coast to make safety a priority; whether that means wearing a lifejacket, checking their vessel before they go afloat, knowing they should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard in the event of an emergency, checking the tide times before they set out, or staying away from cliff edges and unstable coastal paths.’

A difficult call-out for the charity’s volunteers last year was when Barmouth and Aberdyfi RNLI joined a multi-agency search after two teenage boys visiting Barmouth from Birmingham got into difficulty swimming in the sea in August. Tragically both boys lost their lives after getting into difficulty in the water.

As a result of this tragic incident Birmingham City Council approached the charity, along with other organisations, to try and help avoid a similar tragedy on the coast again this summer. The RNLI are pleased to announce that they have formed a new working partnership with Birmingham City Council as the City make water safety education a priority across Birmingham schools in 2017.

Today (Wednesday 29 March) Peter Davies (Coxswain) and Daryl James (RNLI Mechanic) from Barmouth lifeboat station have travelled to Birmingham to launch the new safety partnership at Holy Trinity Catholic School. They will join Birmingham City Council and other organisations to present a water safety session to inner city schoolchildren and share vital tips of how to stay safe on the coast this summer.

The new educational partnership has been formed with the aim that every school pupil within the Birmingham area will received one water safety session before this year’s school Summer holidays. 570 school staff across Birmingham have already been trained in key water messages as part of the safety initiative. Thanks to specialist water safety sessions provided by members of the water safety group*, over 100,000 kids and young people across Birmingham will have key safety skills to help keep themselves safe ahead of their trip to the coast this summer.

Notes to editors

  • *Organisations involved in the water safety group are: Birmingham City Council, RNLI, RLSS, ASA and the Canal and River Trust.
  • Photos of the safety partnership launch will be available by contacting Eleri Roberts from Wednesday afternoon.
  • A Wales and West 2017 RNLI compilation rescue video is available to download from Credit: RNLI
  • Also attached is a picture of Criccieth RNLI lifeboat.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Public Relations Manager on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or email Alternatively contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.