Lifeboat rescues increase

DESPITE the poor weather this summer demand for lifeboat services in the region was still high.

DESPITE the poor weather this summer demand for lifeboat services in the region was still high.

Figures show that in the first six months of the year there were 249 launches in the region, as opposed to 243 for the first half of 2007.

Overall the number of people that needed help because they were trapped on sandbanks, rocks or on islands, or stuck on the shoreline, has increased from two in the first six months of last year to 36 for the same period in 2008.

Lifeboat launches to people in trouble in the sea has also risen from 17 in the first six months of last year to 29 this year.

At Aldeburgh there were a total of nine launches between January and June, five in Southwold, eight in Lowestoft, 20 in Clacton, 34 in Harwich, and in the Walton and Frinton area, eight.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI east divisional inspector, said: “The high level of rescues seems to show a growing national trend where more and more people are using the sea for leisure purposes.

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“As we are totally dependent on donations to help us continue providing a lifesaving service to all, we are holding a national day of fundraising - SOS day - on Friday, January 30 2009.”

He said there will be fundraising activities in towns across the region.