Extreme weather put lifesavers to the test

Tivyside Advertiser: RNLI lifeboats at work.
Pic credit: RNLI. (3660125) RNLI lifeboats at work. Pic credit: RNLI. (3660125)

Mother Nature failed to faze local RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards in 2013, as the charity reports a rise in activity off the west Wales coast.

Lifeboat launches have increased by 13% and the number of people rescued has risen by 23%, compared with the previous year. Across 32 of Wales’ busiest beaches, the charity’s lifeguards responded to 1,761 incidents (32% rise) and assisted 1,940 members of the public – 36% more than the previous summer.

RNLI lifeboats across the Welsh coast launched 1,127 times in 2013, rescued 1,155 people and saved 49 lives in 2013.

Cardigan lifeboat launched nearly 50 times, completed 32 rescues and saved 7 lives in the last 12 months, while the New Quay crews launched a total of 30 times, carrying out 26 rescues; and Fishguard inshore and all weather boats recorded a total of 22 launches, with 21 rescues.

After a wash-out summer in 2012 families returned to the beaches in 2013, which resulted in a very busy time for the RNLI lifeguards.

Volunteers responded to numerous calls of kayakers in trouble and people swept out to sea in inflatable dinghies as temperatures soared across the county.

Colin Williams, RNLI Regional Operations Manager said: “With snow, soaring temperatures and floods, no one can deny that 2013 was a challenging year due to the weather. As well as the rise of lifeboat launches across the coast, the charity’s Flood Rescue Team also had an eventful year.

“It was nice to see people enjoy the Welsh coastline last year, but we do advise the public to be prepared when going out to sea or walking on coastal paths. Pleasure craft are becoming ever more popular, but please take the time to make vital checks before heading out to sea.”

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