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RNLI records increase in launches and rescues ahead of annual Mayday fundraiser

Scotland's lifeboats launched 1,176 times in 2021.
Scotland's lifeboats launched 1,176 times in 2021.

The RNLI has launched a call for support after reporting an increase in rescues over the past year.

Lifeboat crews in Scotland responded to an increase in incidents in 2021, involving paddleboarders, swimmers and sailing vessels.

The latest data released by the charity shows that lifeboat crews and lifeguards rescued more than one life a day last year.

As the staycation trend is expected to continue throughout 2022, another busy season is anticipated for the RNLI volunteers.

The Loch Ness Lifeboat Station is one of 46 across Scotland. Picture by Sandy McCook/DCT Media.

Increase in call-outs

More than half of Scotland’s 46 lifeboat stations are in the north and north-east, responsible for more than a third of the last year’s lifeboat launches across the country.

The map below shows the 25 lifeboat stations in the north and north-east, from Oban in the west round to Stonehaven in the east.

Lifeboats from these 25 stations launched 438 times in 2021 and rescued 342 people.

Across Scotland, lifeboat crews and lifeguards saved 408 lives in 2021 – up 17% from 2020.

The latest data released by RNLI shows there was also an increase in the number of lifeboat launches last year.

A total of 1,176 launches in Scotland marks an increase of 10% from 2020.

Crews spent 9,245 hours on rescue calls in the same period, which is a 14% increase on the year before.

Support the RNLI this May

Funds are vital for the RNLI to continue its lifesaving work, and they rely on the “generosity” of the public taking part in a range of fundraising events.

The charity has launched a national fundraiser running across the UK and Ireland throughout May.

People are invited to complete the Mayday Mile at any point during the month in any way they choose, while raising money for the RNLI.

Claire MacDonald, fundraising and partnerships lead for Scotland, said: “It’s clear from these new figures that demand for our services is continuing to rise, with our lifesavers dropping everything to run to the lifeboat station when the call comes.

“Every penny raised during Mayday will go towards ensuring we are ready to save even more lives this year.”

RNLI has issued its own Mayday call for help ahead of a busy summer. Supplied by RNLI.

Volunteer crew member Neil Chalmers, from Kinghorn Lifeboat Station, added: “Summer is our busiest time of year, with thousands of people at risk of getting into danger by the water. Ordinary people just enjoying days out with family or friends.

“Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to take part in events like the Mayday Mile and raise the funds that allow us to be there when we’re
needed most. But we need to be ready.

“Training, kit, stations and fuel are just some of the things we need to save lives, and that your fundraising can help provide.”

To sign up for the Mayday Mile visit the RNLI website here.

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