RNLI:2011 Was 2nd Busiest Year On Record

Lifeboat crews in the South East helped more than 1,000 people last year, launching 990 times, according to a spokesman.

Eastbourne in East Sussex was the fourth busiest Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) station in the UK and Republic of Ireland with 128 launches, where 123 people received help and 805 hours were spent at sea, according to the charity's annual statistics.

Volunteers at the 15 lifeboat stations on the Sussex and Hampshire coast helped a total of 1,054 people altogether in 2011, the RNLI spokesman said.

He added that the number of rescue launches equated to 6,188 hours spent on service by lifeboats.

Fundraisers for the charity hope the annual statistics will highlight the need for funding towards the cost of replacement lifejackets for volunteer crew members.

The jackets provide more buoyancy, greater freedom of movement and comfort, use a more flexible material, and offer improved fastening and easier adjustment when worn, meaning that one size fits all, the RNLI spokesman said.

It will cost £46,500 to fund the replacement lifejackets at the 15 stations in Hampshire and Sussex, he added.

Lifeboats from the RNLI's 235 stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland launched 8,905 times in 2011, an increase on the 8,713 launches in 2010.

Crews helped 7,976 people, a slight decrease on the 8,313 assisted in 2010, the spokesman said.

Andrew Ashton, divisional inspector for the RNLI East Division, said: 

''These figures show our lifeboat crews were once again involved in a great many rescues on the seas around the South East of England - nearly 1,000 incidents where people were in distress.

''From capsized rowing vessels to stranded kayakers, from drowning pets to broken-down motorboats, from walkers cut off by the tide to sea anglers caught out by bad weather - our crews launch to whoever is in trouble, whenever they're in trouble.

''But they can only do what they do with training and with the best equipment possible, which is why the RNLI is replacing lifejackets around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland.

''Throughout the rest of the year we will be fundraising to help fund these new lifejackets, so we hope that these figures speak to the hearts of the nation and they can help us help others.''

To find out more about the RNLI, visit www.rnli.org.uk


:: These lifeboat statistics show the following number of launches in 2011:

Hayling Island, Hampshire
Lifeboat launches - 87
People helped - 71
Hours at sea on service - 363.12

Portsmouth, Hampshire
Lifeboat launches - 91
People helped - 96
Hours at sea on service - 447.15

Calshot, Hampshire
Lifeboat launches - 96
People helped - 71
Hours at sea on service - 650.85

Lymington, Hampshire
Lifeboat launches - 45
People helped - 75
Hours at sea on service - 195.17

Bembridge, Isle of Wight
Lifeboat launches - 51
People helped - 69
Hours at sea on service - 572.61

Cowes, Isle of Wight
Lifeboat launches - 52
People helped - 52
Hours at sea on service - 244.03

Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Lifeboat launches - 39
People helped - 71
Hours at sea on service - 468.63