Beach-safety-messages-getting-through-but-rescues-remain-high-as-charity-reveals-summer-statistics

Byline: Beach safety messages getting through but rescues remain high as charity reveals summer statistics
Page Content:

Preliminary figures* for summer 2009, issued today (23 Sept) by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), show the charity’s lifeboats and lifeguards have had one of their busiest summer holiday seasons to date. Despite research** showing that public awareness of beach safety in 2009 increased by a dramatic 21 per cent, there has been an increase in the need for RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards during the summer.

RNLI lifeboats launched nearly 4,000 times (3,979) during June, July and August (3,823 in 2008) while the charity’s lifeguards responded to 10,237 incidents over the same period (8,114 in 2008) indicating demand for lifesaving services by holidaymakers and day trippers remains on an upward trend. This is despite high profile rescues in the early part of the summer, including a fatal tombstoning incident and a mass rescue in Tenby, Wales – which the charity hoped would reinforce its messages of the potential dangers at the seaside and encourage people to stay safe.

RNLI Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, comments:

‘We are delighted to see our safety messages are being heard, but we have seen an increase in a demand for our services this summer. This may be due to the many more people who holidayed at home this year mainly on the coast. If “staycationing” is going to be a feature of future summers, we will have to work even harder to get the RNLI’s safety messages across.

’ The busiest RNLI coastal lifeboat stations this summer were Poole, Dorset, with 90 launches, showing a 45 per cent increase on the 62 launch figure for 2008, and Southend-on-Sea, Essex, with 84 launches – a 115 per cent increase on the 2008 launch figure of 39.

The busiest RNLI lifeboat station overall was Tower (River Thames), launching 122 times over the summer (140 in 2008). The busiest area for RNLI lifeguards over the summer months was Cornwall, recording 4,189 incidents, followed by Dorset’s RNLI lifeguards, who recorded 2,265 incidents this summer season.

Mr Vlasto continues:

‘As ever, the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews, and their families and employers, put the safety of the public first – when the majority of the population is relaxing on holiday our lifeboat crews drop everything the moment they are called to launch; and our world-class lifeguards work long days and weekends on some of the UK’s busiest beaches to ensure help is always there when it’s needed.

‘Not only is our charity crucial to the safety of holidaymakers and those who use the beaches, our crews also increasingly help the growing number of people who are using the sea for recreation. There is a greater range of water-based activities and access to relatively cheap or pre-owned equipment, so more people are now using the sea for leisure. While the majority enjoy their watersports without getting into trouble, some always end up needing the help of the RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers, so it’s really important that this group of sea users supports us.

’ As a charity, the RNLI relies totally on the generosity of the public to fund its services. It costs £1,200 per year to train a crew member and £1,000 per season to train and equip a lifeguard.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the charity can log on to www.rnli.org.uk call 0800 543210 or write to RNLI, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1HZ. The RNLI offers free all-year-round safety advice for sea users and beach visitors at www.rnli.org.uk.

Notes:

* RNLI lifeboat launch and lifeguard incident figures for summer 2009 are preliminary, with verification yet to take place. All previous years’ figures mentioned are final as reported in our Annual Report and Accounts for each related year.

** Prescient research conducted on behalf of the RNLI 2008 / 2009: in 2008, 37 per cent of respondents had seen or heard beach safety or lifeguard advice during the summer season. In 2009, this had increased to 45 per cent of respondents, showing a growth of 21 per cent on the previous year.

Byline: Beach safety messages getting through but rescues remain high as charity reveals summer statistics
Page Content:

Preliminary figures* for summer 2009, issued today (23 Sept) by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), show the charity’s lifeboats and lifeguards have had one of their busiest summer holiday seasons to date. Despite research** showing that public awareness of beach safety in 2009 increased by a dramatic 21 per cent, there has been an increase in the need for RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards during the summer.

RNLI lifeboats launched nearly 4,000 times (3,979) during June, July and August (3,823 in 2008) while the charity’s lifeguards responded to 10,237 incidents over the same period (8,114 in 2008) indicating demand for lifesaving services by holidaymakers and day trippers remains on an upward trend. This is despite high profile rescues in the early part of the summer, including a fatal tombstoning incident and a mass rescue in Tenby, Wales – which the charity hoped would reinforce its messages of the potential dangers at the seaside and encourage people to stay safe.

RNLI Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, comments:

‘We are delighted to see our safety messages are being heard, but we have seen an increase in a demand for our services this summer. This may be due to the many more people who holidayed at home this year mainly on the coast. If “staycationing” is going to be a feature of future summers, we will have to work even harder to get the RNLI’s safety messages across.

’ The busiest RNLI coastal lifeboat stations this summer were Poole, Dorset, with 90 launches, showing a 45 per cent increase on the 62 launch figure for 2008, and Southend-on-Sea, Essex, with 84 launches – a 115 per cent increase on the 2008 launch figure of 39.

The busiest RNLI lifeboat station overall was Tower (River Thames), launching 122 times over the summer (140 in 2008). The busiest area for RNLI lifeguards over the summer months was Cornwall, recording 4,189 incidents, followed by Dorset’s RNLI lifeguards, who recorded 2,265 incidents this summer season.

Mr Vlasto continues:

‘As ever, the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews, and their families and employers, put the safety of the public first – when the majority of the population is relaxing on holiday our lifeboat crews drop everything the moment they are called to launch; and our world-class lifeguards work long days and weekends on some of the UK’s busiest beaches to ensure help is always there when it’s needed.

‘Not only is our charity crucial to the safety of holidaymakers and those who use the beaches, our crews also increasingly help the growing number of people who are using the sea for recreation. There is a greater range of water-based activities and access to relatively cheap or pre-owned equipment, so more people are now using the sea for leisure. While the majority enjoy their watersports without getting into trouble, some always end up needing the help of the RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers, so it’s really important that this group of sea users supports us.

’ As a charity, the RNLI relies totally on the generosity of the public to fund its services. It costs £1,200 per year to train a crew member and £1,000 per season to train and equip a lifeguard.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the charity can log on to www.rnli.org.uk call 0800 543210 or write to RNLI, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1HZ. The RNLI offers free all-year-round safety advice for sea users and beach visitors at www.rnli.org.uk.

Notes:

* RNLI lifeboat launch and lifeguard incident figures for summer 2009 are preliminary, with verification yet to take place. All previous years’ figures mentioned are final as reported in our Annual Report and Accounts for each related year.

** Prescient research conducted on behalf of the RNLI 2008 / 2009: in 2008, 37 per cent of respondents had seen or heard beach safety or lifeguard advice during the summer season. In 2009, this had increased to 45 per cent of respondents, showing a growth of 21 per cent on the previous year.