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Littlehampton RNLI urges safety first after rescuing 48 people in 2016

Lifeboats News Release

Littlehampton's volunteer lifeboats 'Renée Sherman', 'Ray of Hope' and 'Blue Peter 1' (now part of the RNLI's reserve fleet) launched on 54 rescue missions last year including commercial vessels in trouble, fishing boats adrift and swimmers and surfers in distress.

The three lifeboats that we used in our rescue missions in 2016

RNLI/Nicholas Leach

The three lifeboats that we used in our rescue missions in 2016

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution's volunteer crews based at Littlehampton, rescued 48 people in 2016 of which six were under the age of 18. Of the 48-people rescued, three were classed as lives saved – a specific RNLI criteria where a person would have died if not for the RNLI lifeboat arriving on the scene. The figures show that Littlehampton RNLI was the 19th busiest station out of the 42 stations in the RNLI South East Region, with a third of the 54 lifeboat launches occurring after nightfall.

In 2016 more than 2,000 people were rescued from the seas around the south east coast of England prompting a plea from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for people to take more care at the coast and respect the water.

Volunteer lifeboat crews from 39 lifeboat stations around the south east coast launched a total of 1,981 times in 2016, rescuing a total of 2,013 people who were in distress. Figures show lifeboat launches are up by 13 per cent on 2015’s total of 1,750 launches. Similarly, the number of people rescued increased by 3 per cent in 2016, up from 1,940 people in 2015.

Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station is manned by a variety of volunteers including the operations team, lifeboat crew, trainee crew, shore crew, visitor experience team and the RNLI Gift shop staff. All volunteers give their time freely and everyone involved at the station is grateful for the continued public support in helping meet the ever-increasing cost of equipment and training with their kind donations and contributions.

"Whilst the RNLI is primarily a frontline rescue service, the charity isn’t just about rescuing people when they find themselves in danger," said Littlehampton Lifeboat Press Officer Ray Pye. " It aims to equip people with the knowledge and skills to avoid trouble in the first place and know what to do should they find themselves or others in danger in the water, paying more attention to safety messages and giving the water the healthy respect it deserves."

"While we will always answer the call for help, the RNLI would like everyone visiting the coast to make safety a priority, whether that means wearing a lifejacket, checking their vessel before they go afloat, ensuring they have means of communication, checking the tide times before they go out and knowing they should call 999 and ask for the UK Coastguard in the event of an emergency. It all comes down to people taking more care at the coast and respecting the water," he added.

RNLI media contacts

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 email
  • Paul Dunt Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 620 7416 07786 668825 email
    • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789 email
  • Key facts about the RNLI

    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

    The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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    The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland