Lifeboat rescues average one every six days on Suffolk coast

Lowestoft Lifeboat recovers a life-raft during the ECC Topaz fire incident last year. Picture: Nethe

Lowestoft Lifeboat recovers a life-raft during the ECC Topaz fire incident last year. Picture: Netherlands Coastguard - Credit: Archant

Winter storms followed by one of the warmest summers on record meant for a busy last 12 months for rescue teams at Suffolk lifeboat stations.

Lowestoft, Southwold and Aldeburgh crews rescued dozens of people during 2014 – with more than half of missions launched at night – according to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Figures released today by the lifesaving charity reveal that last year’s 61 emergencies involved fishermen, swimmers, and leisure and commercial boats in trouble.

Overall the stations rescued a total of 67 people. Of those, two were given first aid for their injuries.

The busiest station in the county was Lowestoft, launching 34 times and rescuing 44 people, having added to its fleet a Shannon class lifeboat – capable of much faster speeds and quicker response times.


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In January, Lowestoft volunteers went to the aid of burning boat which sank in the North Sea. The crew abandoned ship and were rescued by the RNLI. The dramatic rescue was captured on film and can be seen here.

Two months later, Lowestoft and Southwold crews were involved in a search a for missing man spotted entering the sea. He was later found on shore and treated by paramedics.

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Gareth Morrison, lifesaving delivery manager for the RNLI, said: “Yet again, our volunteers have had a very busy 12 months.

“2014 was the warmest year on record for the UK but, conversely, the winter storms of January and February brought damaging winds and inland and coastal flooding. The former may well have enticed more people on to our beaches and into the water, while the latter no doubt made conditions worse for anyone on or near the sea.”

With figures showing that 29 launches in Suffolk were carried out after nightfall, Mr Morrison praised the many volunteers who carry a pager and drop everything to respond to calls for help at any hour, in any conditions.

He said: “Our volunteer crews are the lifeblood of the RNLI, given the commitment they make.

“Our message is that we will always launch to assist people in distress, but we are also increasingly encouraging people to be mindful of the potential dangers associated with the sea.”

Last year’s Respect the Water campaign aimed to reduce the number of people drowning off the coast of Britain. Meanwhile, educational Coastal Incident Reduction teams grew in size and scope.

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