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Isle of Wight RNLI leads the way with life-saving initiative

Lifeboats News Release

A warm welcome to the Isle of Wight RNLI Lifeboat Board’s ground-breaking ‘Saving More Lives’ plan was voiced at the board’s annual meeting last Saturday (28 October), held at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle.

Taken at annual meeting of the Isle of Wight Lifeboat Board.

RNLI/George Chastney

Stuart Popham (left) and Major Gen White with the ‘Saving More Lives’ booklet and ‘Better Boating’ booklets.

Board president, Major General Martin White, who is also the Island’s Lord Lieutenant, said: “Hopefully the plan, a really good document, will take us in an even more meaningful direction.”

The plan, incorporated in a ten-page booklet, has a foreword from Robin Ebsworth, the board chairman. He explained, “It paves the way for us to support and help develop the RNLI’s recent community safety initiatives.”

Every day, he said, people across the country, and of all backgrounds, get into danger in the water. “It’s a problem we’re here to tackle, explain the risks, share safety knowledge, and rescue people whose lives are in danger. We’re here to work with others to make water a safer place for everyone.”

The document helps co-ordinate efforts of the three Island RNLI stations – Bembridge, Yarmouth and Cowes – and enhances the ‘Respect the Water’ campaign. It also recognises the need to work with other agencies, such as the Isle of Wight Council, the National Trust and the local independent lifeboat stations.

In his report to the meeting Robin Ebsworth said the RNLI’s lifeguards had been active on Sandown beach during July and August. He also commended the production, in conjunction with the Royal Yachting Association, of a ‘Better Boating’ booklet, to provide safety tips for all those involved in boating.

Board hon treasurer, Tim Woodcock, revealed that the Island’s branches and guilds accumulated net receipts of just over £231,000 during 2016, an increase of nearly £15,000 on the previous year. Of the various income streams there was a very encouraging 18 percent rise in the donation total, to £36,602.

Stuart Popham, the national RNLI chairman, paid tribute to all those involved in the RNLI on the Island – plus their families. It had been a busy year for the RNLI, he said, and the BBC 2 series about its work had reached millions of homes. Negotiations were now underway for another series.

All the board officers were re-elected, including hon secretary Lesley Myland.

A feature of the annual meeting was an extensive display of the work of the Island’s stations, the guilds and the branches. Statistics showed that the three stations, up until the end of September, had between them clocked up 133 ‘shouts’ during 2017 (Bembridge 37, Cowes 60 and Yarmouth 36).

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