RNLI in south west urges people to put safety first ahead of Easter holidays

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is urging people to put their safety first when visiting the coast this Easter, as figures released today show that volunteer lifeboat crews in the south west* launched 1,614 times in 2016, rescuing 1,624 people and saving 52 lives**.

RNLI lifeguards across the region dealt with 11,173 incidents, aided 13,647 people and saved 56 lives.

The lifeboat statistics as a region are up on previous years and show a 35% increase in launches to people in the water, compared to 2015. The charity is now urging people to take more care at the coast and respect the water, especially with the Easter holidays approaching.

Steve Instance, RNLI Community Safety Partner, says: ‘RNLI lifesavers across the region spent 10,967 hours on service at sea last year, equating to an incredible 456 days. Their selflessness and dedication is truly awe inspiring and we are extremely grateful for their continued support.

‘The RNLI will always answer the call for help but we’re not just here to rescue those in difficulty, a huge part of our work is about encouraging people not to get into trouble in the first place. We’re doing lots of work in communities to introduce local initiatives to tackle specific risk activities, as well as continuing to run extensive education and safety programmes. But there’s still a lot to do to improve safety and that’s why we’re urging more people to pay attention to our advice and give the water the healthy respect it deserves.

RNLI lifeguards will be returning to a number of beaches in Devon and Cornwall from Saturday for patrols over the Easter holidays. The following beaches will be patrolled by RNLI lifeguards from Saturday 1 April to Monday 17 April, and the weekend of April 22 and 23: Praa Sands, Sennen, Porthmeor, Gwithian, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Watergate Bay, Harlyn, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze in Cornwall and Woolacombe, and Bantham in Devon.

Additionally, over the four day Easter weekend, Friday 14 April to Monday 17 April, RNLI lifeguards will be on duty on Hayle Towans, Towan and Constantine in Cornwall.

Croyde in Devon and Fistral in Cornwall will have full time lifeguard from Saturday 1 April until the end of the season.

In Jersey, Le Braye will have lifeguard cover on 1-2 April and throughout the Easter holidays – 8-23 April.

Steve continues: ‘As the Easter holidays approach, we’d like to remind people that despite it being spring, the conditions around the coast can still be challenging and should you go in the water intentionally or unintentionally, the sea is extremely cold at this time of year making cold water shock a real danger.

‘We want people to enjoy the coastline this Easter and therefore urge people to take some basic precautions to ensure they stay safe. Plan your activity – check the weather and tide conditions before going to sea, and make sure your equipment is all in working order. Carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong, know your capabilities and make sure you wear the necessary safety equipment for your chosen activity.

‘If you’re planning to get in the water, take advantage of the RNLI lifeguard service being offered this Easter across a number of beaches in the south west, where the team of lifeguards will be able to advise and keep you safe.

‘To find out how you can stay safe while enjoying your water activity, visit rnli.org/safety’

Notes to editors

Key figures:

Lifeboats

1,614 launches in 2016

Busiest stations – Plymouth (104 launches), Torbay (100 launches), Poole (97 launches) and Newquay (91 launches)

Crew spent 10,967 hours on rescues

620 launches were in darkness

1,624 people rescued

52 lives saved

216 young people under 18 rescued

Lifeguards

11,173 incidents

Rescued 1,048 people

Saved 56 lives

Please note: Statistics for individual beaches are not available

  • *The south west area of the RNLI includes 36 stations in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and the Channel Islands.

· **Lives saved are defined as immediate risks to life, ie if the lifeboat/lifeguard hadn’t arrived on scene the person would not have survived

· In 2015, volunteer crews in the south west launched lifeboats a total of 1,485 times and rescued 1,531 people.

  • It’s difficult to provide an explanation for the increased number of launches as we predict it is a combination of elements such as weather trends, accessibility of water activities, longer seasons, wider availability of equipment, etc.
RNLI media contacts

For more information contact Emma Haines, Press Officer, on 07786 668847 or emma_haines@rnli.org.uk or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland