RNLI stats reveal number of lives saved by lifeboat volunteers during 2020

A volunteer crew at North Berwick Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) saved three lives in 2020 and rescued a further 12 people.

North Berwick Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) saved three lives in 2020 and rescued a further 12 people.
North Berwick Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) saved three lives in 2020 and rescued a further 12 people.

Despite fundraising events being cancelled, the crew continued to respond to assist those in difficulty at sea or on the coast, spending a total of 60 hours on callouts throughout the year. A third of these shouts were in the hours of darkness.

There were varied call outs, but the majority were in the summer months to those using the sea for leisure activities, such as swimming, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. A worrying trend also saw a number of swimmers being rescued from rip currents, where two lives were saved, and further incidents were close to having a serious outcome.

Lifeboat helm, Rhona Meikle, said: “We know from second-hand accounts that other people were caught out by rip currents and waves last year, however, didn’t know what a rip current was, how to get themselves out of difficulty, or worryingly, to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. We urge everyone to visit the RNLI website and check out the beach safety pages for vital lifesaving information”

RNLI rescue statistics for 2020 showed that a total of 349 lives were saved by the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguard throughout the year, almost one life saved every day.

The data also revealed that last summer alone, RNLI lifeboat crews saved 140 lives- an increase of 32% from the previous year- after coronavirus restrictions led people flocking to the coast around the UK and Ireland. The charity also reported 42 lifeboat launches per day of the summer period, which is almost double the number launched throughout the rest of the year. Scottish volunteers launched 463 times, aiding 376 people and saving 23 lives.

In preparation for the busy summer period, the RNLI are putting out their own urgent Mayday call by asking supporters to take part In ‘The Mayday Mile’. You can swim it, run it, cycle it, dance it or walk it, challenging people to cover one mile in any way they choose, between 1st-31st May. This will raise vital funds to ensure RNLI can continue to keep people safe on the coast.

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