Page last updated at 09:00 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

RNLI says at-home holidays factor in more Welsh rescues

RNLI inshore lifeboat
Two Anglesey lifeboat stations were among the top three busiest in Wales

The RNLI says more people taking holidays in Wales due to the recession may have been a factor in the high number of lifeboat rescues in 2009.

Crews at the charity's 31 stations in Wales had their second busiest year in a decade, rescuing 1,218 people.

The latest figures showed 1,191 launches, one of the highest in RNLI history, and second only to the record number in the long, hot summer of 2006.

Beaumaris station had its busiest year since 2001 with 93 people rescued.

Call-outs to the crew on Anglesey rose from 63 in 2008 to 74 launches in 2009.

A giant bottle carrying a plea for help from the charity arrived at Beaumaris on Sunday as part of a nationwide tour to promote the charity's SOS Day on Friday.

Green bottle being used in RNLI fund-raising appeal
RNLI fund-raisers at Menai Bridge
Beaumaris - 93 people rescued
Penarth - 85 rescued
Moelfre on Anglesey - 76 rescued
All UK and Ireland - 8,186 rescued
Source: RNLI for 2009

RNLI volunteers at Penarth were the second busiest rescuers in Wales, taking 85 people to safety during the year, followed by Moelfre, where 76 people were rescued.

In terms of lifeboat launches, Rhyl was the second busiest of the 31 lifeboat stations in Wales with 70 launches, closely followed by Tenby with 67.

Colin Williams, RNLI inspector of lifeboats for the west division, said: "The figures for the last 10 years show lifeboats in the west have launched nearly 10,463 times and rescued 10,266 people.

"These 10-year statistics indicate that an increase in popularity for coastal recreation is a major reason for the increase in RNLI call-outs.

"Our volunteers have certainly had a busy 2009, which may in part be due to people holidaying at home instead of planning holidays abroad during last year's financial uncertainty.

Reasons for call-outs have seen a 23% rise in problems due to machinery failure, with 331 call-outs to powered pleasure craft.


The RNLI also said their lifeguards, on 27 beaches in south and west Wales, had an "exceptionally busy year" with 1,410 helped in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.

The Pembrokeshire lifeguard service, which started in 2008, saw the numbers of people helped jump from 561 to 823 in 2009.

The RNLI also pointed to its work in the Cumbrian floods last November, with 17 volunteer swift water technicians from north Wales helping hundreds of Cockermouth's residents reach safety.

After a busy summer, the RNLI in Wales had said they were "extremely shocked" that despite warnings people were still putting themselves in dangerous situations and failing to act on advice.

This included taking care with inflatables on beaches and using inflatable dinghies in the sea.

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