RNLI heroes rescued 75 people during 2015

Amble RNLI was launched 29 times last year, rescuing 18 people. Picture by Jane Coltman
Amble RNLI was launched 29 times last year, rescuing 18 people. Picture by Jane Coltman

RNLI crews in north Northumberland were called out 71 times in 2015, rescuing 75 people, new figures have revealed.

Last year proved to be a busier time overall for volunteers in the area, compared to the 59 launches and 44 rescues in 2014.

This was certainly the case for the crews at Amble. Last year, the volunteers were launched 29 times, rescuing 18 people, compared to 18 call-outs and 17 rescues the previous year.

The base is currently on a fund-raising mission to collect £200,000 towards the cost of a new Shannon-class lifeboat.

And Amble RNLI press officer, Alan Stewart, admitted last year’s figures show just how crucial it is for the unit to acquire the new lifeboat.

He said: “It is very important. Our older lifeboat is getting to the end of its operational life and it needs to be replaced and the Shannon has increased speed and increased range.”

At Seahouses, the volunteers were called out 21 times last year, rescuing 48 people in the process. This was compared to 22 call outs and 16 rescues in 2014.

Ian Clayton, operations manager at Seahouses RNLI, put an increase in rescues down to the fact that crews had been called out on a number of occasions to aid divers onboard broken down dive rigs.

The Craster crew had a slightly quieter year in 2015, compared to 2014. Last year, they were launched twice, rescuing four people, while in 2014, they launched seven times, rescuing five people.

Last year was a busier year for Berwick RNLI, launching 19 times and rescuing five people, compared to 12 launches and six rescues in 2014.

Further south in the county, Newbiggin crews were launched eight times, rescuing nine people, compared to 11 call-outs and six rescues in 2014. Meanwhile, Blyth RNLI was launched 16 times in 2015, with 19 people rescued, compared to 32 launches in 2014, of which there were 17 rescues.

Overall, volunteers at the charity’s 33 RNLI lifeboat stations in the north rescued 903 people, saving 43 lives, during 954 rescue launches. RNLI lifeguards dealt with 1,721 incidents and helped 2,065 people.

The busiest lifeboat crews in the north of England in 2015 were Fleetwood (86 launches, rescuing 61 people), Blackpool (78 launches, rescuing 21 people), Sunderland (70 launches, rescuing 93 people) and Tynemouth (68 launches, rescuing 85 people).

Meanwhile, the floods in Cumbria saw the charity’s Flood Rescue Team rescue 400 people between December 5 and 7. RNLI volunteers travelled from across the north of England and North Wales to help in Cockermouth, Kendal and Carlisle.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI divisional operations manager in the north of England, said:

“The RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards have once again had a busy year and I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication to saving lives.

“However, they couldn’t carry out their crucial role without the army of fundraisers and other volunteers who raise money and awareness of the RNLI in their local communities – they are the lifeblood of our charity.

“Many of our volunteers joined colleagues from other charities and emergency services to help during the terrible floods at the end of 2015, rescuing 400 people in Cumbria.

“We would remind anyone in a flood situation to be aware of fast-flowing flood waters and to always keep a safe distance.’

Overall, the lifeboat rescue statistics show a similar picture to 2014, when the north’s RNLI lifeboats launched 1,026 times and rescued 925 people. RNLI lifeguards dealt with 1,905 incidents in 2014 and helped 2,360 people.