Rescue service gearing up for busy festive season after seeing launches rise 87% over Christmas

The RNLI is gearing up for a busy festive season after seeing the number of lifeboat launches rise by 87% during this period over the last 20 years.

Last year, volunteer lifeboat crews spent 602 hours at sea in the Christmas period (from Christmas Eve to the start of January) after launching 88 times.

And in the last five years, lifeboat crews around the British Isles have responded to 457 calls for help during this nine-day period, rescuing 240 people.

“More lifeboat launches means more volunteer crews called away from their family and friends during the Christmas period,” the RNLI’s operations director, Michael Vlasto, said.

“At this time of year, I’m always reminded just how extraordinary our volunteers are, giving up valuable time with their families throughout the year to rescue on average 21 people a day – and Christmas time is no exception.”