Islands’ RNLI station 2013 statistics

Stornoway RNLI all-weather lifeboat the 'Tom Sanderson' launched 25 times in 2013.  Photo: Stornoway RNLI
Stornoway RNLI all-weather lifeboat the 'Tom Sanderson' launched 25 times in 2013. Photo: Stornoway RNLI

RNLI lifeboats in Scotland were launching nearly three times a day during 2013 to attend emergencies according to charity figures.

The RNLI volunteer crews attended 996 ‘shouts’ during which they rescued 1,007 people and saved 29 lives.

And the official statistics, released last week by the lifesaving charity, show the Stornoway’s All-Weather Lifeboat (ALB) the ‘Tom Sanderson’ launched a total of 25 times; the most recent RNLI ALB station, Leverburgh, also launched 25 times; and Barra Island lifeboat launched a total of eight times last year.

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.”

Fourteen of Stornoway RNLI’s 25 shouts last year took place in darkness; and in 2013 the local lifesavers rescued 27 people (three under 18, 24 over 18) and saved one life.

The Stornoway crew spent 372.4 hours at sea on service last year, and 720.2 hours on exercise, volunteering for a total of 1,092.6 hours over the 12 months.

As with Stornoway, Leverburgh RNLI also undertook 14 shouts in darkness, and one in winds over Force 7.

They rescued a total of 31 people (three under 18, 28 over 18) and treated one person with First Aid.

The new RNLI volunteers spent a total of 1,061.3 hours training on exercise, and 355.7 hours on shouts – giving the crew a total of 1,417 hours at sea in 2013.

And of Barra Island’s eight launches, three were in darkness and one in winds over Force 7.

Three people were rescued (all over 18) by the Barra Island volunteer crew, and one life saved during the 103.4 hours the RNLI lifeboat was out on service.

The Barra crew also spent 368.4 hours on exercise, giving them a total of 471.8 hours at sea last year.

Throughout Scotland this is the first time since 2008 that there have been fewer than 1,000 shouts for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – the busiest year being 2009 with 1,121 launches, and the record number of people rescued was in 2012 with 1,055.

In 2013 the RNLI launched on 8.304 occasions around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coastlines, and rescued 8,384 people.

And in light of recent weather conditions, RNLI’s Andy 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.”