British lifesavers - 39 times a day, at your service

RNLI in action
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The numbers are impressive, but they only tell one aspect of the story. This summer, Britain's Royal National Lifesaving Institution (RNLI) lifeboats launched 3575 times - nearly 39 times a day - to rescue those in trouble on the water.

The roughest weather of the summer was faced by the Aldeburgh lifeboat off the coast of Suffolk on June 8. The crew launched in a Force 9-10 conditions to assist a 13-metre Dutch yacht with four crewmen on board. The yacht had struck the Aldeburgh Ridge and lost her rudder. Working alongside an RAF rescue helicopter, the lifeboat managed to tow the yacht to safety despite terrible weather conditions.

The furthest distance travelled by a lifeboat in a single shout was carried out by St Mary’s lifeboat, on the Isles of Scilly, which launched to rescue a catamaran 80 nautical miles offshore and tow it back to harbour.

In the North, the Humber crew were called out on an 11.2 hour shout on June 22 to a yacht that had suffered engine failure in near gale force conditions. The yacht’s crew were suffering from sea sickness and had to be taken aboard the lifeboat before being winched up by a rescue helicopter.

The lifeboat crew at Anstruther in Scotland faced one of the most unusual challenges of the summer, when they were involved in an operation to assist around 20 pilot whales stranded on Anstruther beach. Ten whales were saved.

Michael Vlasto added: 'Once again our volunteer lifeboat crew and lifeguards have shown that they are committed and courageous individuals, on stand by to save lives at sea come rain or shine.'

RNLI Divisional Inspector, North, Andy Clift, added: ‘As well as the life-saving work carried out by RNLI lifeboat crews this summer, we should also remember the sterling efforts of our fundraising volunteers. The RNLI depends on people like them to fund our lifeboat service – without their hard work, our lifeboat crews would be unable to continue saving lives at sea.’