Rescued sailor joins RNLI Mayday call as figures reveal busy year for Manx crews
The latest figures released today by the RNLI have revealed the number of lives saved by RNLI crews from Peel to Douglas has increased from none in 2020 to three in 2021. The Isle of Man’s volunteer lifeboat crews launched 48 times in 2021, up from 25 in 2020, an increase of 92%.
In addition, the number of people aided by RNLI crews on the island rose from 16 in 2020 to 32 in 2021 – a rise of 100 per cent. With demand for its lifesaving services at a high and the continued popularity of staycations, the charity is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call.
The RNLI is urging the public to take part in the Mayday Mile, to raise essential funds to provide vital training and equipment to keep their lifesavers safe, while they risk their lives to save others.
The RNLI’s volunteer crews on the Isle of Man’s spent 384 hours at sea during 2021, up 133 per cent from 2020 when they spent 165 hours at sea. In 2021, crews also rescued one dog, the only animal casualty rescued during the year, up from none in 2020.
Some of those hours at sea were the result of the extensive additional training Peel RNLI’s crew undertook as they prepared to put their new Shannon all-weather lifeboat into service late last year. The new boat, Frank and Brenda Winter, is the first Shannon to be based in the Isle of Man. These important training hours are just one of the way that the essential funds raised this Mayday will be put to use in keeping the public and RNLI crews safe.
One member of the Peel crew will also be putting her best foot forward and taking part in the Mayday Mile herself. Chloe Spooner, who is also the station’s Training Coordinator, aims to cover an incredible 150 miles during May.
Chloe said: “I’m a very keen walker, so the Mayday Mile is the perfect opportunity to get outside and raise money for the RNLI at the same time. With the new Shannon arriving at the station it really underlined how important it is to be able to continually train and develop as a crew, backed by our amazing supporters.”
It was also an exceptionally busy year for Port St Mary, the busiest of the five lifeboat stations on the island, with its crew launching 18 times, aiding 13 people and saving three lives. One of those rescued was yacht skipper Billy Ferguson, who along with his two crew mates was rescued by Port St Mary RNLI in November when their yacht suffered a fouled rudder and propeller in high winds and rough seas.
Billy, who was himself RNLI crew at Troon in Scotland for over four years, said: “We were so pleased to see the crew of Port St Mary approaching – it was a very serious situation. I am an experienced sailor and former RNLI crew member, but the sea is unpredictable and unexpected issues can still catch you out. I’d urge anyone who can to support the Mayday Mile fundraiser, to make sure crews like the one that came to our aid can carry on saving lives at sea.”
Anyone wishing to show their support for this year’s Mayday fundraiser can join the Port Erin RNLI crew for their Mayday Mile Fun Run on Sunday 1 May. Dressing in yellow is a must for the first of what the crew hopes will become an annual event.
The Mayday Mile will be running from Saturday 1 May to Tuesday 31 May. Sign up and find out more at RNLI.org/SupportMayday today.
Notes to Editors
· Supporters can donate to Peel crew member Chloe’s Mayday Mile here: https://rnli.enthuse.com/pf/chloe-spooner
· Supporters can join the Port Erin Mayday Mile Fun Run here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/port-erin-rnli-mayday-fun-run-registration-309431737657?fbclid=IwAR1rTgCxhkFkCTzOASKw9PyORD-uwspo2rF-NsfEtgf3N1E40FhIl8wsoHg
For more information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales and the North West on 07886 668829. Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected].
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.
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