Busiest coastal lifeboat station in south east

Eastbourne lifeboat

Eastbourne lifeboat

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CREW members at Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat station launched their lifeboats a total of 128 times in 2011 – making them one of the busiest in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Of the 235 Royal National Lifeboat Institution stations across the country Eastbourne was the fourth busiest lifeboat station, according to statistics released this week.

And within the RNLI’s east division, which incorporates a total of 41 stations, Eastbourne was the busiest coastal lifeboat station – only two stations, both on the River Thames in London, launched their lifeboats more times.

Fundraisers for the charity hope the annual statistics – which show that, overall, the RNLI had its second busiest year ever – will swell support for the current public station appeal to raise funds for the new Tamar lifeboat which the station will receive in May.

The new Tamar lifeboat, named Diamond Jubilee, replaces the current all-weather lifeboat, which is almost 20 years old.

With a top speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are at risk – the Tamar enables the charity to save lives at sea even more effectively.

The cost of the £2.7 million lifeboat has been funded by two generous legacies and other local fundraising efforts, but the RNLI still needs to raise the final £300,000.

Collectively, the lifeboat crew members spent a total of 805.30 hours on the water on official services – figures made all the more impressive considering the crews are mainly volunteers who give up their time for free.

Overall, lifeboats from the RNLI’s 235 stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland launched a total of 8,905 times 2011, an increase on the 8,713 lifeboat launches in 2010.

Crews assisted a total of 7,976 people, a slight decrease on the 8,313 people assisted in 2010.

Andrew Ashton, divisional inspector for the RNLI East Division, said, “These figures show our lifeboat crew at Eastbourne was once again involved in a great many rescues on the seas around the south east of England – more than 100 incidents where people were in distress.”