RNLI Lifeboat volunteers on the Isle of Wight spent more than 1,500 hours helping save lives in 2012.
Figures published today (Tuesday) by the charity reveal the Cowes, Bembridge and Yarmouth lifeboats launched 147 times and rescued 241 people throughout the year. The Cowes lifeboat was launched 61 times, the Bembridge lifeboat 40 times and Yarmouth 46 times. They rescued 126, 51 and 64 people respectively.
The emergencies included two girls stranded on treacherous clay cliffs, rescued by the Yarmouth lifeboat, an oil tanker captain who fell and broke his ankle, rescued by the Bembridge lifeboat, and eight separate incidents during June's Round the Island Yacht Race, attended by the Cowes lifeboat.
Of the RNLI's 236 lifeboat stations around the UK and Republic of Ireland, Cowes was ranked the 28th busiest, Yarmouth the 52nd and Bembridge the 65th — all within the top third of the busiest lifeboat stations nationally.
The figures prompt a big thank you from the RNLI's top brass to the employers, families and friends of the volunteer crew members who regularly drop everything at a moment's notice to respond to their pager and help save lives at sea.
RNLI regional operations manager Andrew Ashton said the figures represented a huge commitment by the many volunteers that each lifeboat station relies on.
"Not only is the RNLI grateful to our volunteers for all they do, we’d also like to express sincere thanks to everyone whose lives are impacted by our crew members when they respond to emergencies," he said.
"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 rushes off to the lifeboat station, they all deserve our thanks for helping us help others in distress."