A record number of people were rescued by Royal National Lifeboat Institution volunteers in Scotland last year, according to official figures.
The charity’s annual statistics show that 1,055 people were rescued in 2012, with lifeboats launching from the country’s 46 stations on 1,008 occasions. The previous highest number of rescuees was 1,026 in 2006.
This was one of the busiest years on record for the charity. The busiest station for the second consecutive year was Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, with 103 launches during which 37 people were rescued.
The busiest inshore station was at Queensferry, near Edinburgh. They launched 66 times and rescued 163 people, the highest among Scotland’s stations.
Peterhead launched 11 times, with Fraserburgh out 18.
Last year was notable for the large number of rescues that took place during darkness, with 386 ‘shouts’ being undertaken by crews at night.
The RNLI’s statistics also reveal that 15,450 hours were spent at sea by Scottish crews in 2012. This includes the time spent on ‘shouts’ which totalled 10,671 hours, and time spent on training exercises.
The RNLI’s Regional Operations Manager for Scotland, Andy Clift, says: “The figures show that our volunteers dedicate a huge amount of their time to saving lives at sea.
“To know that they are on call 24/7, every day of the year, is reassuring for all of us who venture out to sea around the Scottish coast.
“They spent the equivalent of 643 days on service and on exercise and rescued a record number of people in Scotland in a year.”
The number of fishing vessels requiring help from the RNLI fell from 143 in 2011 to 122 last year. People on land requiring help rose significantly from 142 to 226.