West lifeboat crews launched almost 1,000 times during 2013
Lifeboat crews in Devon and Cornwall launched almost 1,000 times last year helping a similar number of people, official statistics published by the RNLI show.
The 14 stations in Cornwall launched lifeboats 468 times during 2013 assisting 421 people. In all, volunteers spent 3,666 hours at sea and carrying out 215 operations in the hours of darkness.
In Devon, nine stations launched their lifeboats on 504 “shouts”, going to the aid of 486 people. Boats spent 3,592 hours on the water with 181 operations in the dark.
Andy Hurley, the RNLI regional operations manager, said: “The figures released today, go some way to illustrating the incredible dedication shown by the charity’s volunteers, without whom we could not carry out our core purpose to save lives at sea.
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“These volunteers are equipped and trained to respond to all kinds of incidents whatever the weather throws at them.
“However, it is a massive commitment, not only for them, but for their families, loved ones and employers who must also become part of the wider RNLI family.”
Nationally, the charity launched its lifeboats 1,449 times, rescuing 1,450 people and saving 34 lives.
Crews responded to all manner of incidents with sailing pleasure craft accounting for the greater number of rescues with 326.
Problems encountered by powered pleasure craft resulted in the second highest number of rescues with 317 call outs.
The biggest reason was mechanical failure, with a total of 286 incidents, a slight increase on the previous four years.
Meanwhile the charity’s lifeguards, which patrol beaches across Devon and Cornwall, reported their busiest year since the service was launched in 2001, having attended 13,390 incidents, assisting 14,802 people and saving 56 lives during the summer of 2013.