28th January 2014
By Bryan T. Smyth
RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 1,087 times in 2013 bringing 1,278 people to safety. The figures released by the charity today are based on returns of service from all 44 lifeboat stations in Ireland.
The statistics show that the majority of last year’s call outs were to pleasure craft which accounted for 583 services, while there were 138 launches to fishing vessels.
Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats had the most launches in 2013, with its crew rescuing 67 people during 58 call outs.
Crosshaven’s RNLI lifeboat, an Atlantic 75 class, Miss Betty, launched on service 42 times in 2013. The volunteer crews spent 66hrs 18mins at sea during this time and 20% of this was carried out in the hours of darkness.
Once again, machinery failure accounted for the majority of call outs for the Crosshaven crews.
In a year when Ireland enjoyed one of its hottest summers, the overall statistics show an increase of 132 lifeboat launches in 2013, up from 955 in 2012 to 1,087. There was also an upsurge in the number of rescues with 221 more people brought to safety over the 12 month period.
Reflecting on the year, Martyn Smith, RNLI Operations Manager for Ireland said:
‘2013 proved to be another busy year for the RNLI with an increase in both our lifeboat launches and rescues. Our lifeboat crews are highly trained and equipped to deal with the challenges they face and we are indebted to their dedication to respond when the need arises.
‘Sadly’, Mr Smith continued, ‘not every call out results in a rescue and 2013 also brought its share of tragedy. A number of our call outs involved searches for missing people and in some incidents, they involved bringing home loved ones who were lost at sea. These call outs while challenging for all involved, demonstrate the commitment and seamanship of our crews who devote many hours to a search and recovery effort’.
Looking ahead, Mr Smith reminded the public that irrespective of weather conditions, the water always presents a risk. He recommended that people take care by following some simple safety tips: ‘We would remind water users to always wear a lifejacket, get the appropriate training, carry a means of calling for help, check engine and fuel, tell others where you are going and check weather and tides.’
Mr Smith concluded by thanking everyone who had contributed to helping the RNLI save lives at sea in 2013: ‘I would like to say a huge thank-you to our volunteers and all those who support the RNLI, a charity dependent on the generosity of the public, whether by giving up their time or by making a donation. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard and emergency services who we worked closely with in 2013.’