Busy year for lifeboat crew

Anstruther Lifeboat
Anstruther Lifeboat

Anstruther’s lifeboat crew had a busy 2013, answering 22 shouts during the year.

Although that figure wasn’t in the top of the league of rescues, Anster was in a high state of readiness with the crew clocking up a mighty 1494 hours in service of the RNLI.

Of the 22 rescues, 11 were carried out by the inshore lifeboat, seven call-outs took place in the dark and 28 people were brought to safety.

In the RNLI official statistics released yesterday (Tuesday), lifeboats in Scotland were launching nearly three times a day during 2013.

In total the charity’s volunteers attended 996 ‘shouts’ during which they rescued 1007 people and saved 29 lives.

This is the first time since 2008 that there have been fewer than 1,000 shouts for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Scotland.

The busiest year was 2009 with 1,121 launches, and the record number of people rescued was in 2012 with 1,055.

The busiest station in Scotland was Broughty Ferry where the two RNLI lifeboats were called out a total of 105 times – half of those incidents took place during darkness.

Out of the 32 people rescued, five people’s lives were saved.

The second busiest was Arbroath, with 53 shouts, one more than Oban in third place.

Queensferry was the busiest inshore lifeboat station with 49 shouts and the crew rescued 128 people.

RNLI volunteers at Tobermory spent 950 hours on shouts, by far the longest time recorded at any of Scotland’s 47 lifeboat stations.

One of those incidents occupied a marathon 31 hours on June 14/15 when a cargo ship ran aground on the east coast of Mull in the Summer.

There has been a decrease in recent years of the number of fishing boats that require RNLI help, with 115 incidents last year, down from 122 in 2012.

But more members of the public have required help along the coastline.

And it’s not just people working on the water that the RNLI helps – there are many reasons for rescues, including missing pets, and people being stranded on a causeway island.

Andy Clift, the RNLI’s regional operations manager for Scotland, said: “These figures illustrate the immense commitment exhibited by the RNLI’s volunteers throughout Scotland.

“Day after day they are available to respond to emergencies along the coastline and out to sea and, night after night, they are also available with a large proportion of shouts taking place in darkness.

“They also spend a considerable amount of time in carrying out exercises and training to ensure their skills are up to date.

And with winter storms still battering our coastline, Mr Clift added: “During stormy weather the RNLI urges the public to avoid areas, whether they be a harbour, pier, promenade or cliff top, where they could get swept off their feet.”

The RNLI in Scotland provided lifeguards for the first time during the summer. Coldingham, near Eyemouth, had RNLI lifeguards and the majority of their work was involved in minor first aid treatment.

They assisted the public on 53 occasions.

•The RNLI launched on 8,304 occasions around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coastline in 2013, and rescued 8,384 people.