To coincide with its busiest fundraising day of the year the RNLI has released figures that show it responded to 8000 emergency calls last year

As the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is busying itself today with a host of fundraising activities for SOS day , figures released show that emergency calls to the voluntary organisation peaked at 8182 last year, with crews rescuing a total of 7533 people.

The busiest coastal lifeboat station last year was Poole in Dorset, which launched 156 times in 2008, an increase of 38%, while the busiest lifeboat station of all was Tower on the River Thames, which launched 403 times, a 52% increase on 2007.

RNLI chief executive, Andrew Freemantle, said, “We rely on the public’s support to deliver, day in day out, lifeboat and lifeguard services around our island shores, and to enable us to do this independently of the Government.”