THE TOWN’S RNLI is one of the busiest stations in the country.
Official statistics released by the RNLI last week show Eastbourne’s two lifeboats launched 112 times during 2010 and rescued 118 people stations in the country.
The inshore lifeboat launched 65 times and the all-weather boat 47 times. The boats spent a total of 96.2 hours at sea during the rescues. Saving walkers cut off by the tide and helping boats in distress are just some of the RNLI’s roles.
The volunteer crew members go out in all weathers and the statistic show 35 of the calls in Eastbourne were in darkness.
The lifeboats, crewed by volunteers who are prepared to stop whatever they are doing and respond to the call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, are solely funded by voluntary contributions.
Eastbourne’s lifeboat coxswain Mark Sawyer thanked his crew for a ‘sterling effort’ and said, “We should also thank the army of fundraisers who help keep the station running and the employers prepared to release crew members whenever their pagers go off.”
Eastbourne’s 2010 figures are much higher than its neighbouring towns in Hastings, Newhaven and Brighton.
Hastings’ RNLI rescued 26 people during its 33 callouts last year and Newhaven had 53 launches and rescued 71 people.
Even the city of Brighton, which launched 67 times and rescued 93 people, could not top Eastbourne’s 118 rescues.
Bob Jeffery from Eastbourne RNLI said he believed the high figure was down to the town’s busy marina and the large amount of leisure boats.
Andrew Ashton, divisional inspector for the RNLI east division, said, “These figures show once again that RNLI lifeboats and their volunteer crews have had a busy year of saving lives at sea.
“When you consider we remain a charity, independent of the government and the coastguard, it’s no mean feat.
“As a charity that relies on voluntary contributions we are so very grateful to all those who are still able to support us.
“It is only through donations and support from the public that we were able to launch our lifeboats and spend the equivalent of eight days at sea. For that I say thank you to everyone for their generous support, even in these difficult times.”