Lifeboat launches are halved this summer

Newhaven Lifeboat by Michael Tubb
Newhaven Lifeboat by Michael Tubb

NEWHAVEN Lifeboat’s crew was the only one in Sussex to experience a significant reduction in the number of launches it made during the summer.

The volunteer crew set off just nine times – half the rescues they were tasked with during summer 2011.

Figures for launches from other stations in the county, such as Brighton and Rye Harbour, remained largely stable, while at Hastings they increased.

RNLI divisional inspector Andrew Ashton said: “Apart from a noticeable change for Hastings and Newhaven, elsewhere in Sussex the year-on-year changes were small, meaning it was pretty much business as usual for our volunteers.

“As ever, our brave volunteer crews remained committed to their pagers, heading out to sea to help others whenever the alarm was raised.”

On the whole, lifeboats at Rye Harbour, Hastings, Eastbourne, Newhaven, Brighton, Shoreham Harbour, Littlehampton and Selsey had a busy summer as expected – the total of 206 launches was just one more than for the same period in 2011.

Newhaven’s volunteers had fewer interruptions to their family and working lives, as the number of launches halved during summer – from 20 in 2011 to 9 in 2012.

The rescues they carried out during the summer included assisting people who had been cut off by the incoming tide, a search for a missing child, and calls to several broken down vessels.

Andrew continued: “Summer 2012 was a rather mixed bag. On the one hand we’re told that 2012 was the wettest summer for 100 years in parts of the UK.

“But then reports also say that June, July and August were, technically at least, warmer than 2011.

“Perhaps people were forced to assess the weather and take last minute decisions on whether to visit the coast or go afloat.

“Either way, our crews did the RNLI and the general public proud by being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The volunteer crew at Hastings launched a total of 36 times, a 140 per cent increase on 2011’s figure of 15 launches.

Eastbourne was the busiest lifeboat station this year, with 44 launches, this summer compared to 49 during the same period last year. Newhaven was the quietest.