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Summer second busiest for rescues

22 September 09 18:41 GMT

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has reported its second busiest summer in the north of England since records began.

During June, July and August, there were 620 launches in the area, which stretches from Silloth to West Kirby, and from Berwick to Skegness.

It is thought the high number could be down to people taking day trips and holidays in the UK instead of abroad.

Only the long, hot summer of 2003 was busier, with 632 launches.

The 2009 figures were an increase of 18% on 2008, when the charity responded to 522 incidents.

It was also the first year that the RNLI took over lifeguard responsibilities from local authorities in South Tyneside, Sunderland, Scarborough, East Yorkshire and East Lindsey.

Matt Horton, RNLI divisional inspector of lifeguards, said: "Despite the poor weather we have had a busy season and we are very pleased with the service we have been able to provide.

"We have received some great feedback from the public."

Andy Clift, RNLI divisional inspector of lifeboats, said: "In the past, rescues have generally risen during hot summers when more people travel to the coast and use the sea for leisure activities.

"However, we think the trend for holidaying at home may have had an impact this summer.

"Even though the weather has not been particularly good, beaches have been busy and so have some of our volunteer lifeboat crews."

He added: "The incidents they deal with range from rescuing exhausted surfers and children on inflatables to helping fishermen and yachtsmen in difficulties at sea."

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