RNLI comes to the aid of dozens
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 January 2011
WESTON RNLI saved 27 people and one dog during 2010, new figures show.
The volunteers based on Birnbeck Island were in fact the busiest in the Bristol Channel and launched a total of 47 times last year.
Shouts ranged from people stranded on rocks, pleasure crafts in trouble, missing person searches and a dog that fell from cliffs.
The figures show that 2010 was nearly as busy for Weston RNLI as the previous year – the busiest in a five-year period.
Volunteers were called from their beds 14 times last year to carry out rescues in the early hours.
A Weston RNLI spokesman said: “Sometimes people needed to be rescued because of silly actions such as the two lads who tried to row to Steep Holm in an inflatable toy boat.
“Sometimes it was due to ignorance, such as the family of nine from the Midlands who thought they could walk across the mud from Uphill to Brean Down.
“Often it was mechanical failure on boats and often the searches were for distressed individuals who needed help.”
The RNLI heavily promotes sea safety, more so because Weston has the second highest tidal ranges in the world giving strong currents and there are huge areas of mud exposed at low tide.
Volunteers speak to a range of people, including boat owners, water skiers, swimmers and fishermen, to raise awareness of the danger of the sea.
Pete Holder, lifeboat operations manager, praised the fund-raisers and thanked the public for their generosity.
He added: “It is disappointing to note that even with all the new safety signage in place along the sea front and foreshore at Weston and Sand Bay, some people still choose to ignore the warnings and safety advice offered which in turn often results in the Coastguard and RNLI Lifeboats having to go to their aid.
Weston RNLI offers boat owners a free safety check on their craft, which is available by ringing Richard Spindler on 07779 021554.