Record number of rescues logged by RNLI crews

The RNLI gave a demonstration at the Harbour Festival in August
The RNLI gave a demonstration at the Harbour Festival in August

A record number of people were rescued in 2014 by RNLI volunteer crews in Scotland, according to the charity’s official figures.

There was also a large rise in people’s lives being saved by the RNLI’s 47 lifeboat stations around the Scottish coastline.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution says that 1175 people were rescued in 2014, compared with 1008 the previous year. In recent years, the number of rescuees has varied from 847 in 2011 to last year’s record figure.

The charity’s core mission is to save lives at sea and in 2014 there were 51 people of all ages who owe their life to the skills of volunteers. This was a rise from 29 lives saved in 2013.

The total number of incidents, known as shouts, was 1004, a slight rise from 995 recorded in 2013.

The busiest Scottish lifeboat station was Broughty Ferry, with 74 shouts, followed by Oban with 68 and Queensferry with 67. The RNLI’s newest station in Stonehaven, had eight shouts with 870.3 total hours put in by the volunteer crew.

More than 40% of all shouts in Scotland were to pleasure craft. The number of fishing boats requiring help declined slightly. Lifeboat stations spent almost 40,000 hours at sea in the year, a combination of attending incidents and carrying out crew training exercises.

Michael Avril, the RNLI’s community incident reduction manager in Scotland, said: “The very nature of the sea means it is unpredictable and can catch out even the most competent water users.

“But it’s not just people who set out to use the water who end up in it – walkers can get caught out too as conditions can change very quickly or a trip could mean they end up in the water. We would urge people to respect the water, and never underestimate the power and strength of the sea.

“Always check tide times before taking to the water. Avoid areas where you could get swept off your feet in stormy weather and, if you’re visiting the coast, be sure to visit a lifeguarded beach during the summer months.”