Volunteer crew at North Berwick RNLI saved 3 lives in 2020, launching their D-Cl

Lifeboats News Release

Despite fundraising events being cancelled, shops closed and training curtailed the crew continued to respond to assist those in difficulty at sea or on the coast, spending a total of 60 hours on call outs throughout the year, a third of shouts were in the hours of darkness.

North Berwick Lifeboat in water being held by crew prior to launch.

RNLI/Matt Gibbons

North Berwick Lifeboat preparing to launch

Volunteer crew at North Berwick RNLI saved 3 lives in 2020, launching their D-Class lifeboat 22 times and rescuing a further 12 people.

Despite fundraising events being cancelled, shops closed and training curtailed the crew continued to respond to assist those in difficulty at sea or on the coast, spending a total of 60 hours on call outs throughout the year, a third of shouts were in the hours of darkness.

The type of call-out varied but the majority were in the summer months to those using the sea for leisure activities such as swimming, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking. A worrying trend also saw a number of swimmers being rescued from rip currents, where two lives were saved, with other incidents being close to a serious outcome.

Lifeboat helm Rhona Meikle said: “We know from second-hand accounts that other people were caught out by rip currents and waves last year, however, didn’t know what a rip current was, how to get themselves out of difficulty, or worryingly, to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. We urge everyone to visit the RNLI website and check out the beach safety pages for vital lifesaving information.”

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) rescue statistics for 2020, showed that a total of 349 lives were saved by the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards throughout the year. That’s almost one life saved every single day.

The data also revealed that last summer alone (1 June – 31 August), RNLI lifeboat crews saved 140 lives – an increase of 32% from the year previous – after coronavirus travel restrictions led to people flocking to the coast around the UK and Ireland. Scottish volunteers launched 463 times, aiding 376 people and saving 23 lives, with one third of those launches happening in the hours of darkness during the same period.

The charity also reported 42 lifeboat launches per day over the summer period, which is almost double the number launched throughout the rest of the year.

With lockdown restrictions easing once again, and huge numbers of people planning to ‘staycation’ at the British coast, the RNLI are anticipating that summer 2021 will be their busiest yet – but more funds are needed to ensure that their lifesaving service is able to keep everyone safe.

In preparation for the busy summer period, the RNLI are putting out their own urgent Mayday call, by asking supporters to take part in The Mayday Mile. Whether you choose to swim it, run it, cycle it, dance it or simply walk it, The Mayday Mile challenges you to cover one mile in any way you like between Saturday 1 May – Monday 31 May, whilst raising vital funds to ensure RNLI Lifesavers can continue to keep people safe at the coast.

RNLI media contacts: Rhona Meikle, volunteer lifeboat press officer at North Berwick, 07767 251023, Rhona_Meikle@rnli.org.uk

Or Gemma McDonald, Public Relations Manager Scotland on 01738 642956, 07826 900639, Gemma_McDonald@rnli.org.uk

Or Martin Macnamara, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07920 365929, Martin_Macnamara@rnli.org.uk

Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives. The RNLI is a charity registered in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.