RNLI statistics issued today show that of the six crews in the county, Blyth launched the most – 35 times in 2016 – followed by Seahouses with 33. But the Seahouses crew carried out more rescues – a total of 44 compared to 17 by the Blyth crew. Both had far more launches in 2016 compared to the previous year, but slightly fewer rescues.
Next up was Amble with 22 launches and 24 rescues (29 and 18 in 2015) followed by Berwick with 18 launches and nine rescues (19 and 5 in 2015). Craster’s lifeboat was launched five times, with one rescue, while Newbiggin’s was launched three times, carrying out six rescues.
Across the north of England, volunteer lifeboat crews at the 33 lifeboat stations launched 1,032 times last year, an increase of more than eight per cent on 2015 when there were 954 launches. The charity’s lifeguards on 38 beaches in the north also saw an increase in the incidents that they attended with 2,398 incidents in 2016 compared to 2,065 in 2015.
The busiest crew in the north was Sunderland which launched its inshore lifeboat 100 times in 2016, while Tynemouth was third with 75 launches.
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Nationally, the number of lifeboat launches around the coast has increased to a five-year high of 8,851 in 2016 and lifeguard incidents are also at an increase from last year to 17,414. The charity’s lifesavers saved 558 people’s lives last year and helped nearly 30,000 people.
Darren Lewis, RNLI lifesaving manager, said: “In 2016, our charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards in the north of England saved 64 lives. The figures from last year show immense dedication by our volunteer lifesavers, but the increase in lifeboat launches and incidents dealt with by our lifeguards highlights the need for people to be extra vigilant in or around water.
“Our charity promotes safety messages all year round via interactive campaigns such as Respect the Water and Hit the Surf. Through these initiatives we have equipped thousands of people with invaluable lifesaving tips.
“With Easter just around the corner, it’s the ideal time to remind people that to have an enjoyable time at the coast, they need to treat it with respect. A little preparation beforehand and knowing what to do if you do get into trouble can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.”