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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 06:06 GMT 07:06 UK
Summer RNLI call-outs hit record
RNLI Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat
Around 70% of call-outs involve high-speed inshore lifeboats
The hot summer weather led to lifeboat crews in Wales having their busiest season yet, new figures have revealed.

The number of call-outs during June, July and August rose by more than 100 to almost 700 this year, says the RNLI.

Rhyl was the UK's busiest coastal lifeboat station, with 78 launches. The rescue charity said regular hot days played a part in its rising workload.

RNLI sea safety manager Nicola Davies said: "We are certainly seeing more people down on the beaches."

Across the UK, the RNLI reported a 4% rise in callouts over the summer compared to the same three months in 2005. In Wales the corresponding figure is an 18% increase.

Busiest stations in summer 2006
Rhyl: 78 launches
Tenby: 57 launches
Mumbles: 35 launches
Beaumaris: 32 launches
Porthcawl: 30 launches

About 70% of the summer launches were by inshore lifeboats, fast and rapid response vessels better suited to dealing with incidents close to the shore.

The charity said this reflected the fact that more people than ever are using the sea for a range of leisure pursuits such as kite-surfing, water-biking, kayaking, and coasteering, in addition to more traditional activities such as sailing and angling.

In Wales, Tenby, Mumbles and Beaumaris were the next busiest stations, while Llandudno's inshore lifeboat crew saw their number of call-outs rise from seven last year to 26 last summer.

'Seaside resorts'

On the south coast, Porthcawl and Burry Port both saw their number of inshore lifeboat call-outs almost double from 17 and 8 respectively in 2005, to 30 and 15 respectively this year.

The rise in shoreline-based emergencies reflected the growing popularity of using the sea for pleasure, said Ms Davies, a co-ordinator of the RNLI's education campaigns in Wales and the west of England.

She said: "We've had some really good weather and we're certainly seeing more people using the water.

"There is a much easier access to water-based activities and to cheaper or pre-owned equipment more and more people now use the sea for leisure.

"The majority of people enjoy their water sports without getting into trouble but our busiest coastal stations are located in the busiest seaside resorts."

The number of call-outs in Wales during June, July and August rose from 583 in 2005 to 686 in 2006.

"The use of small inflatables continues to be a problem"

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