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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Increase in coastline deaths
Coastguard helicopter
Coastguards dealt with 12,514 incidents in 2001
The number of people who died off the British coast rose last year.

Britain's coastguards were busier than in 2000, as deaths rose by more than 20% in 2001, new figures show.

Coastguards on the south coast were the busiest of all.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency revealed the Solent coastguards dealt with 1,405 incidents and rescued 476 people.

Figures for 2001 (Figures for 2000 in brackets)
12,514 incidents in total (12,008)
16,487 people assisted (14,717)
4,852 people rescued (5,217)
284 lives lost (234)
8,096 Coastguard Rescue Team call-outs (8,250)

A total of 284 people died in 2001 in incidents including cliff falls, accidents at sea and drownings, compared with 234 the year before.

The Solent and Clyde areas recorded the highest number of lives lost at 28.

The Swansea coastguard area reported 24 lives lost, Stornoway 22, 21 near Falmouth, 17 in the Humber region and 15 near Aberdeen.

The total number of incidents reported went up to 12,514 last year from 12,008 in 2000.

HM Coastguard co-ordinates rescues throughout the British Isles.

Some of the incidents included a dramatic rescue off the south-west coast in September last year.

Six anglers were rescued a mile off the coast of Cornwall and were spotted after their 21-feet-long boat capsized and sank without trace.

Solent Coastguards sent a helicopter to rescue a member of the crew of a Dutch-registered cargo ship after a collision in the English Channel in October.

The master of the cargo ship died after the vessel collided with a tanker five times its size.

Coastline patrol

The coastguards are also regularly called out to help some of the millions of people who use the British seaside for fun.

Every year more than 25 million holidays and 110 million day trips are taken at the British seaside.

Coastguards have 10,500 miles of coastline to patrol.

Chief coastguard John Astbury said the increase in figures was concerning.

"When we consider how many people use the sea and coastline for pleasure and leisure purposes, we can understand the rise in the figures for individuals being assisted at the coast.

"We will redouble our efforts in reminding people to take care when sailing or using the coastline for their activities."

Click here to go to Southampton
See also:

19 Apr 02 | Scotland
Fishermen safe after sinking
04 Apr 02 | England
Crew rescued from flooded yacht
16 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Search for missing family called off
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