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Calmer seas for the RNLI
CALM seas, plenty of sunshine, light winds... and a greater awareness of sea safety.
All of these may have contributed to fewer west Dorset ‘shouts’ this year for the RNLI, says Lyme Regis-based lifeboat operations manager Grahame Forshaw.
He said: “We’ve had a marvellous few months, and with good weather there have been many more people on the water.
“However, although I always like to be cautious in such matters, it does look as if the sea safety message is getting through.”
Mr Forshaw added: “With my other hat on, as harbourmaster in Lyme Regis, we have been incredibly busy on the slipway with usage by boat owners up by 40 per cent.”
So far this year the resort’s lifeboat, Spirit of Loch Fyne, has been launched 23 times to answer emergency calls.
During the whole of 2012 there were 48 ‘shouts’ for help and in 2011 a total of 36.
Last year there were eight calls during Lifeboat Week alone. This year, none.
Calls this year have varied and include: l people cut off by the tide l an 84-year-old lone sailor who was escorted to safety in his yacht after fears for his welfare l four people thrown into the sea when their speedboat sank.
However, figures released by the RNLI in the south west reveal the the hottest summer for seven years has kept lifesavers busy.
There was an increase of 24 per cent in the number of emergency ‘shouts’ for lifeguards in the south west during June, July and August, compared to the same period in 2012.
Weymouth’s lifeboat crew launched 41 times this summer – compared to 33 times in 2012.
RNLI lifeguards in Dorset dealt with 2,126 incidents compared to 1,677 in 2012.
Andy Hurley, RNLI regional operations manager, said the figures reflect the first proper summer for seven years.
He said: “People flocked to the south west when it became evident the weather had taken a turn for the better.
“The warm temperatures and sunshine attracted huge numbers of people to the region’s most popular beaches, which explains why our lifeguard teams were kept so busy.
“For the RNLI lifeguards this has been a particularly busy summer because of the superb weather and I’d like to thank them for their continued professionalism in keeping the beaches safe, even when there have been many thousands of visitors on the sands and in the water.”
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