RNLI crews kept busy at sea in 2012

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Eastbourne’s lifeboat crews were the third busiest in the area, according to latest figures released.

The volunteers crews of the inshore and all weather lifeboats spent a combined total of 708 hours at sea during 107 launches and rescuing 92 people.

Among the notable rescues during 2012 was the round the clock search for missing diver Judy Beard, whose body was found some weeks later, and going to the aid of a child who fell off a beach groyne and suffered a serious head injury.

The Eastbourne station was the fourth busiest coastal station within the charity which RNLI top brass said this week represented a massive commitment by everyone associated with the station.

The statistics have prompted a huge vote of thanks from lifeboat chiefs to employers, families, and friends of all those volunteer crew members who regularly drop everything to respond to their pager and help save lives at sea.

Regional operations manager for the RNLI Andrew Ashton said, “Not only is the RNLI grateful to our volunteers for all that they do, we’d also like to express our sincere thanks to everyone whose lives are impacted by our crew members when they respond to emergencies.

“Whether it’s a spouse left holding the baby, a partner woken in the night by a crew member’s pager, an employer who allows their staff member to down tools, or a kind colleague who fills in when their workmate shoots off to the lifeboat station, they all deserve our thanks for helping us help others in distress.”

Eastbourne’s figures are included in a tally up of rescues across Sussex and Hampshire where crews launched 763 times and rescued 726 people.

Eight of the two counties’ 12 lifeboat stations ranked among the busiest stations across the 236 station strong institution with Eastbourne sitting in the top 33.

A lifeboat spokesperson said, “The figures show that despite a year of relatively poor weather and heavy rainfall, it was another busy 12 months of rescues for the volunteers who regularly give up their own time to go to sea to save others.”