Busy year for the lifeboats

THE NEW PETERHEAD LIFEBOAT GOING THROUGH HER PACES IN THE BAY.(KELLOCK/BROWN)
THE NEW PETERHEAD LIFEBOAT GOING THROUGH HER PACES IN THE BAY.(KELLOCK/BROWN)

The RNLI launched, on average, 20 lifeboats in Scotland each week in 2011 according to the charity’s official statistics released last week.

Statistics show that Peterhead Lifeboat, the Misses Robertson of Kintail, had another busy year, with 19 launches and the crew assisting 26 people.

The charity revealed it was the RNLI’s sixth busiest year in Scotland - with 1,006 launches in Scotland during which 847 people were rescued.

This compares with 2010 where there were 1011 launches with 916 people being rescued.

The busiest lifeboat station was Broughty Ferry, where the RNLI’s two lifeboats launched a total of 104 times, a record-breaking year for the volunteers at the station on the outskirts of Dundee. More than a third of those launches were during the hours of darkness.

The busiest inshore lifeboat was at the RNLI’s Queensferry station, near Edinburgh, with 62 services during which they assisted 117 people including 13 under the age of 18.

In 2011 several stations were praised for their role in rescuing people at sea with letters from the RNLI’s Operations Director Michael Vlasto going to Peterhead and several other stations.

Commenting on the past year, RNLI division inspector, Paul Jennings, said: “The annual statistics reveal once again the devotion to duty by our volunteer crews throughout Scotland.

“Apart from the shouts, the crews spend a great deal of time in exercising and improving their skills so that they are in a position to help anyone in all types of weather and in all types of situation.

“It is particularly notable that during December we had four spells of stormy weather with winds from force 10 to 12 and yet our crews still launched, as they always do whatever the weather.

“On December 8 lifeboats launched at Buckie in hurricane conditions, while Peterhead, Troon and Oban also launched in gale to severe gales for a variety of emergencies.”

Breaking the figures down, close to 17% (170) of lifeboat call-outs were attributed to machinery failure. There was an increase in the number of people who were in danger after being cut off from the tide, up from 24 in 2010, to 35 in 2011.

Boats with fouled propellers resulted in 63 call-outs, compared with 44 the previous year and 27 in 2009.