Lifesavers at sea as RNLI tops 1000 rescues in 2015

The RNLI in Scotland had more than 1000 launches last year. (Chris Walker/RNLI.)
The RNLI in Scotland had more than 1000 launches last year. (Chris Walker/RNLI.)

Scotland’s lifeboat charity had another lifesaving year in 2015, with more than 1000 launches, rescuing more than 1000 people and saving nearly 30 lives.

And RNLI lifeguards stationed at five beaches – four in Fife and one at Coldingham Bay in the Borders – dealt with 116 incidents

Away from the sea, lifeboat crews in Girvan and Aberdeen and RNLI flood rescue teams helped other emergency services and the public during recent storms and flooding, including the Aberdeen lifeboat crew using rocket-propelled lines to help SSE restore power.

The busiest lifeboat station in Scotland last year was Broughty Ferry, where the crew went to sea 92 times, and Queensferry was Scotland’s busiest inshore lifeboat, with a total of 73 launches and 150 people rescued.

On the west coast, Troon lifeboat launched 74 times and rescued 31 people and the crew of the Mallaig lifeboat were kept busy with 44 launches and a total of 53 people rescued.

Michael Avril, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager in central Scotland, said; “Our volunteer lifeboat crew and lifeguards have again worked exceptionally hard serving our local communities. We continue to urge those working on or enjoying our coastline and inland areas to respect the water.

“Inland, floods caused heartache for many at the end of 2015 and we ask those faced with floods to be aware of fast-flowing flood waters and to keep a safe distance.

“We understand that things can go wrong from time to time, so some preventative maintenance and annual checks prior to the boating season should allow for worry-free sea time.”

Matt Crofts, RNLI Operations, said: “We would like to thank all of our volunteers for their tireless hard work and dedication over the last 12 months, without all of our volunteers, fundraisers and education teams our lifesaving service would not operate.”

Last year, there were more than 200 lifeboat launches to sailing pleasure craft (19 per cent of all launches).

Another common call-out was to boats with machinery failure, which accounted 18.5 per cent of launches.

Leesa Harwood, community lifesaving and fundraising director, said; “It’s humbling to see the lifesaving work of our volunteer crew, lifeguards, flood rescue teams and safety advisers – out of the 9,763 rescued in the UK and Ireland, 442 people are alive today because of their actions.”

“And now the RNLI as a whole owes it to them to act with integrity and tenacity as we take this step to opt-in communications from January 2017.

“So I’m appealing to all our dedicated supporters to help us by ticking our opt-in box over the next few months – to hear about our rescues, our safety advice, and our events and help us save the lives of hundreds more in the years to come.”

For more about the forthcoming opt-in campaign, call the Supporter Care team on 0300 300 9918 (UK) weekdays between 8am-6pm. Alternatively, contact the team by e-mail at optin@rnli.org.uk.