By Jake Lanning

Time is a very precious commodity.

Family time, work time, home time, leisure time, play time, relaxing time, time to get up, to go to bed, time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or perhaps just a little quiet time. Time means different things to different people and we all value our time in different ways.

For coastguard officers, getting there ‘in time’ has a huge impact on the lives of people we respond to, but what I find truly humbling is the amount of time that our volunteers give to serve their communities.

We are at our most visible when we’re responding to emergencies, but the amount of time that officers spend behind the scenes might surprise you.

Between May and September this year, officers from West Bay gave a total of 1,186 hours of their time which amounts to just under 50 days. You can get up to quite a lot in 50 days, including: taking a commercial airliner around the world 62 times, watching all eight seasons of ‘24’ back-to-back six times, flying to the moon and back 16 times and swimming the English channel 148 times.

Instead, our officers spent 667 hours responding to emergencies, 210 hours training and honing their skills, 151 hours attending PR events, 86 hours cleaning and maintaining equipment and 72 hours patrolling our coastline.

If you take an average of this time spent to calculate a yearly total, then multiply it by the 350 teams that operate around our coastline, you start to get into some pretty big numbers.

Before you all reach for your calculators, I can tell you that it’s just under a million hours which is quite something, and a true testament to the frontline volunteers of the UK’s only national emergency service.