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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 13:10 GMT
Busy year for region's lifeboats
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The busiest crew in the region was at Southend in Essex
The RNLI launched more than 8,000 rescue attempts last year, making it the busiest in its 180-year history.

Figures released on Wednesday by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution showed crews rescued 7,815 people - an average of 21 people a day.

In East Anglia the busiest crew was in Southend, Essex, where its boats went out 134 times to rescue 126 people.

In total, lifeboats in the region were called out 604 times - up about 3% on 2002 - to rescue 523 people.

East Anglia station figures: launched (rescued)
Harwich 100 (76)
Clacton 55 (43)
West Mersea 47 (76)
Walton and Frinton 27 (34)
Burnham on Crouch 33 (28)
Hunstanton 40 (13)
Wells 28 (30)
Sheringham 10 (1)
Cromer 18 (20)
Great Yarmouth/Gorleston 56 (32)
Lowestoft 18 (24)
Southwold 17 (11)
Aldeburgh 20 (9)

A total of 96 people were rescued by Norfolk's lifeboats.

In Suffolk RNLI crews rescued 44 people, but by far the busiest area was Essex where 383 people were rescued by the county's stations.

Michael Vlasto of the RNLI said nationally the number of rescue attempts had more than doubled since 1986, when it stood at 3,724.

"We believe this trend is due to a number of factors, such as the changing patterns of sea use by the public, improved search and rescue techniques and the dramatic growth in the use of mobile telephones among the public," he said.

The figures also revealed the busiest lifeboat station was Poole in Dorset, with 175 launches of its two lifeboats and 190 people rescued.

It costs 290,000 a day in 2003 to run the RNLI.

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