Busy summer for the lifeboat crews

VOLUNTEER crews in Eastbourne had a busy summer this year,launching the town’s lifeboats 44 times.

The all-weather lifeboat was called out 15 times between June 1 and August 31 and the inshore lifeboat 29 times.

Last year there were 49 call outs for the same summer period with the all- weather lifeboat called out to sea 23 times and the inshore vessel 26 times.

Lifeboat officials say Eastbourne had a busy summer including call outs to kayakers in distress, stranded yacht crews, and the report of missing diver Judy Beard, a haematologist consultant whose body was later washed up ashore.

Andrew Ashton, divisional inspector for the RNLI, said, “Apart from a noticeable change for Hastings and Newhaven, where the former had more than double the launches they had in summer 2011, while the latter had just half the number of last year’s launches, elsewhere in Sussex the year-on-year changes were small, meaning it was pretty much business as usual for our volunteers.

“As ever, our brave volunteer crews remained committed to their pagers, heading out to sea to help others whenever the alarm was raised.

“Summer 2012 was a rather mixed bag. On the one hand we’re told it was the wettest summer for 100 years in parts of the UK. But then reports also say that June, July and August were, technically at least, warmer than 2011.

“Perhaps people were forced to assess the weather and take last-minute decisions on whether to visit the coast or go afloat. Either way, our crews did the RNLI and the general public proud by being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Across the RNLI nationally, lifeboats launched a total 3,575 times, a slight drop on last year’s total of 3,633.

Michael Vlasto, RNLI operations director, said, “This has been another busy year for the despite the poor weather at the start of the summer. It was also a memorable summer as our lifeboats and volunteer crew were involved in both the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant and the London Olympics.

“Once again our volunteer crew men and women have shown that they are committed and brave individuals, on standby to save lives at sea come rain or shine.”