In the UK last year, just under 20% of all Royal National Lifeboat Insititution (RNLI) lifeboat launches were to sailing vessels. Another 33% were to motor boats and manual boats, and the rest, a whopping 47% of the rescues, did not involve a boat of any sort.
Analysing these numbers, the RNLI is calling on boaters and watersports enthusiasts to stay safe and wear a lifejacket in 2011.
Machinery failure was the most common cause for rescue, with 1,740 of all launches responding to vessels with mechanical problems – up from 1,687 in 2009.
The charity’s lifeboats spent a total of 10,758 hours (448 days) at sea in 2010, actively rescuing 8,313 people (22 every day), the highest number in the RNLI’s history.
Peter Chennell, RNLI Sea Safety Manager, says: ‘Don’t let a mishap ruin your day afloat – before you set off make sure you check your equipment, carry spares and have some way to call for help. If you want advice on how to stay safe at sea, then why not book a SEA Check with us – it’s a free, friendly and confidential service that’s neither a test nor an inspection and there is no pass or fail.
'Conducted by one of the charity’s highly trained volunteers, SEA Check is a personal face-to-face safety advice service that takes place on board your own craft, whether that’s a 40 foot yacht, a RIB or a kayak.’
Over a third of the launches in 2010 (37%) were in the hours of darkness and for every single call to launch, the crews had to stop whatever they were doing – whether at a family celebration, at their day job or asleep in bed – and get to their local lifeboat station as quickly as possible.
RNLI Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, says: ‘2010 will be remembered for a series of harrowing disasters overseas but around our coastline our lifeboat volunteers and lifeguards have once again demonstrated their priceless commitment to saving lives at sea.
'But that is only part of the story, every one of the rescues carried out by the RNLI in 2010 was only made possible due to the incredible generosity of the public, even in these difficult times. I would like to say 'thank you' to all those who support us. It’s a team effort and, as a charity, we couldn’t do it without them. And I can only ask the public to continue to keep backing us, because every penny counts.’
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that is independent of Government and reliant on donations. To find out more go to their website?nid=79856