Record year for lifeboat crews

Lifeboat crews working along the Suffolk coast dealt with more call-outs last year than ever before.

SUFFOLK: Lifeboat crews working along the Suffolk coast dealt with more call-outs last year than ever before.

The record year for the RNLI team saw them attend 125 incidents off the county's shore and north Essex coastline - compared with the previous busiest year of 2005 when they handled 109 calls.

From the 125 call-outs, the Harwich lifeboats saved 12 people and rescued 71 more, including kite surfers, yachtsmen, swimmers and fishermen in trouble.

Often those needing help had gone to sea poorly equipped or had failed to take any notice of weather forecasts predicting tricky conditions.


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Though the main aim is to save human lives, during 2009 the inshore lifeboat also rescued two dogs.

The service's offshore lifeboat regularly operates well out in the North Sea - one incident in January last year it was called to help a Belgium trawler on fire, with six people on board, some 35 miles off Harwich.

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Capt Rod Shaw, honorary lifeboat operations manager for the Harwich Lifeboats said: “The increase in services gives cause for concern because it indicates the public are not taking adequate care and attention when using the sea for recreation.

“Poor maintenance of boats and failure to observe weather warnings are just two of the reasons for persons needing the services of the Harwich Lifeboats.”

The present Harwich offshore lifeboat was the first of the RNLI super lifeboats and commenced service in 1995.

Have the RNLI lifeboats come to your aid in the past year? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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