The RNLI in Wales has today released its annual rescue figures which show lives saved by lifeboat crews during the summer of 2020 rocketed by 71%. As lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast, RNLI lifesavers saved the lives of 24 people between June and August, compared with 14 lives the previous year.
The latest annual statistics for 2020 show the RNLI’s volunteer crews at the 30 lifeboat stations between Flint and Penarth launched 918 times, aided 991 people and saved 36 lives. During the summer, RNLI lifeguards on beaches in South Wales, West Wales and Denbighshire in North Wales attended 1,046 incidents and aided 2,673 people.
This year with more people expected to be holidaying close to home, the RNLI predicts a summer like no other. The lifesaving charity is calling for the people of Wales to support its Mayday campaign to raise funds to ensure volunteer crews can continue to save lives at sea.
The RNLI’s Mayday campaign launches on Saturday 1 May and runs throughout the month. Lifesavers in Wales are calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile and cover at least one mile in any way they choose and raise vital funds to keep people safe on our coastline.
One of the youngest Mayday Mile participants is five-year-old Mikey Richards from Aberystwyth. Mikey is cycling five miles in his wellies to raise funds to keep his dad safe at sea. Dad Ian Richards, is the volunteer helm at Aberystwyth RNLI and incredibly proud of his son’s efforts. To support Mikey visit: https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/mikeys-yellow-wellie-bike-ride
A team of RNLI volunteers at Rhyl will run two miles of the promenade in full kit. Their challenge has inspired keen Denbighshire runner Rob Batterbee who will run 19 miles from Conwy Lifeboat Station, passing Llandudno Lifeboat Station and ending at Rhyl on Saturday 1 May.
Putting the wheels in motion to raise much-needed funds is Flint Lifeboat Operations Manager Alan Forester who will virtually cycle the Welsh coast from his garden, incorporating all 30 Welsh lifeboat stations and covering 536 miles over 10 days – with a little help from his volunteer Flint crew. To show your support visit: https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/alan-forresters-virtual-welsh-coastal-bike-ri
The latest figures show in the RNLI’s West region, (which includes 30 stations in Wales, 11 in the North West of England and five stations on the Isle of Man) that the majority of call outs were to people out walking and running and not expecting to end up in the water.
RNLI lifeboats launched 112 times to people requiring help after slipping or falling – significantly higher than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland.
Figures also show that people becoming cut off by the tide is a huge cause of concern across Wales and the West, with 115 lifeboat calls out to people finding themselves stranded by the tide. The figure is almost double the national average.
The summer of 2020 saw a rise in popularity of people paddle-boarding and requiring rescue, with 88 incidents last year.
Stuart Wallace, RNLI Lifesaving Lead for the West says: ‘We all saw the images of packed beaches around the coast as restrictions lifted last summer, which meant a hugely busy season for the RNLI in Wales and the West as a whole. As another summer approaches, we know that our lifesavers face more huge challenges in keeping everyone safe, which is why we’re now the ones sending out our own Mayday call and asking for help.
‘Our annual Mayday fundraising campaign is our call for your support to help keep you and your family safe at the coast this summer.’
Launching on Saturday 1 May and running for the whole of the month, the RNLI’s annual Mayday campaign asks people to sign up to support lifesavers around the UK and Ireland. This year, the charity will be calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile, by covering at least one mile in any way they like in order to raise vital funds.
Stuart added: ‘Our lifesavers drop everything to run to the lifeboat station when the call comes, so we’re asking our supporters to put themselves in the crew’s boots and join the Mayday Mile. Every penny raised during Mayday will go towards ensuring we are ready to save even more lives this year.’
To sign up for the Mayday Mile, or to make a donation in support of the RNLI’s lifesavers, visit RNLI.org/supportMayday
*Summer refers to the period of 1st June – 31st August 2020