Island based lifeboats rescue more than 60 people

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Island based lifeboats launched more than 50 times in 2013 and rescued more than 60 people.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Scotland issued their statistics today (Tuesday) showing that lifeboats in Scotland were launching nearly three times a day during 2013 to attend emergencies

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

Stornoway Lifeboat launched 25 times rescuing 27 people and saving one life.

Leverburgh Lifeboat also launched 25 times rescuing 31 people and Barra Lifeboat launched eight times rescuing three people.

This is the first time since 2008 that there have been fewer than 1,000 shouts for the RNLI 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 (near Dundee) where the charity’s two 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.

Tobermory station mechanic Jock Anderson was on board throughout the shout and afterwards he was praised by the RNLI’s Operations Director, George Rawlinson, for ‘his guidance on board the casualty vessel in protecting the crew of both vessels from the dangers of CO2 poisoning’.

Another notable shout was the assistance given by crews from Aith and Lerwick when a Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea close to Shetland in August.

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.

It’s not just people working on the water that the RNLI helps, there are many reasons people to be rescued 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.”

He 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.