RNLI volunteers on call 24/7 this festive period to help those in need

Lifeboats News Release

During the festive period* over the last 10 years Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have launched 1078 times aiding 488 people and saving 35 lives.

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Lowestoft crewmember Philip Holdsworth
Of those launches 96 took place on Christmas Day taking our crews away from family celebrations to help save others.

This Christmas the (RNLI) will once again be providing a 24/7 rescue service throughout the festive period at the charity’s 238 stations covering the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Christmas morning in 2012 saw both Hastings Lifeboats launch in horrendous conditions. A report had come in of numerous people in the water. Battling 45 knot winds the lifeboats arrived on scene and medical attention was given by other emergency service to one person now on the shore but sadly this was in vain.

On Christmas Day last year the pagers sounded out for Tynemouth volunteers late in the evening to reports of a person in the water, luckily the person was quickly recovered by other emergency services.

Statistics for the last 10 years show that during the festive period the most common cause for lifeboats launching was to people in the water or people caught out on a shoreline or beach.

Guy Addington, Community Safety Partner says ‘The festive period is no different to any other time of year and we have such dedicated volunteers on call if a call comes in.

‘With people heading to the coast for a stroll we ask you to take care. Around 190 people lose their lives at the UK and Irish Coast each year and over half never even planned to enter the water. As well as slips trips and falls tidal cut offs are also a contributing factor to RNLI call outs. Please take a look at the tide times and always have a means of calling for help. Remember, if you need help or someone else is in difficulty dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Four lifeboat stations are routinely fully crewed due to the location and number of call outs and Christmas is no exception which means they will miss out on Christmas dinner with their families. Crews will be on standby at Humber Lifeboat Station, and three lifeboat stations on the Thames at Tower, Gravesend and Chiswick.

Notes to editor:

*festive period 24 Dec – 1st Jan

Festive period launches:

2008-2017 – 1078 launches

35 lives saved

488 people aided

96 Christmas Day launches 2008-2018

RNLI media contacts: RNLI National Media Officer on 01202 336789, david_riley@rnli.org.uk

RNLI/Alex Purves

Antruther Lifeboat with snow falling in recent years

RNLI/Chris Taylor

Volunteers heading out in the snow at Sheringham Lifeboat Station

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Lowestoft Lifeboat volunteers out in awful weather

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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