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The RNLI have released their rescue statistics for 2007 as they prepare for their annual fundraising day on Friday 25 January.
Figures show the RNLIs 233 lifeboat station crews launched 8,052 times during 2007, rescuing 7,715 people.
Tower lifeboat station on the River Thames was the busiest RNLI lifeboat station, launching 265 times and rescuing 92 people. Around the coast, busy stations included Torbay lifeboat station, which launched 131 times, rescuing 137 people, and the RNLIs Southend lifeboat station launched 126 times and rescued 109 people.
RNLI lifeguards, who were operational on 71 beaches in the south west of England and East Anglia, rescued 1,350 people, aided a further 8,533 people and responded to a total of 8,201 incidents.
The RNLIs Flood Rescue Team and volunteer lifeboat crews were particularly active inland last year, rescuing another 200 people in flood hit areas across the UK during the summer months.
Now the charity is calling on members of the public ‘to respond to its own SOS call’ by supporting RNLI SOS day on Friday.
Operations Director Michael Vlasto said: “Despite fewer visitors to the coast during the early summer months due to the unseasonable weather, our lifeboats and lifeguards continued to respond to a high number of calls for help, with more and more people using the water and beaches for leisure pursuits.”
He also said it was the charity’s busiest year for animal rescues, with figures increasing by approximately a third from 75 in 2004 to 108 in 2007.
Of all beach incidents attended to by RNLI lifeguards where environmental factors played a part, nearly 45 per cent were caused by rip currents.
“Prevention is a major aspect of the RNLI lifeguarding role,” Vlasto said, “with over half a million safety warnings and advice on local hazards being provided to help stop people getting into trouble.”
He continued: “Thanks to the ongoing support of the public, we can continue to provide a seamless rescue service from the beach to the open sea, assisting those in difficulty as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“This is why events like RNLI SOS day are so important, as we rely on public donations and fundraising support to deliver our 24-hour lifesaving service.”
The day offers a chance to have fun raising money for a good cause with your family, friends and colleagues, and theres still time to get involved by logging onto www.rnli.org.uk/sos