I have always had great respect for the men and women who don their uniform and go to sea in all weathers to rescue others. They brave the elements and put their lives at risk to save the lives of complete strangers in situations where the elements can be cruel, unpredictable, and I imagine very frightening. Most people would look at a raging sea and stay safe on shore, I know I would – if on land when a storm comes, or you know it’s coming, stay on land – that’s how I look at it. However these ladies and gentlemen will dash out to sea in the middle of a raging storm, day or night, and in all weathers. They are brave beyond imagination.
These volunteers are selfless and put the requirements of others before their own. They are dependable and always available 24/7, including those special family times like Christmas. They are very much committed to saving lives either at sea in a rescue situation, or on the land by sharing their expertise to help make you better prepared to go to sea. Mostly though I think they are very courageous, especially in the challenging situations that they find themselves working in.
They are a charity and depend on their network of volunteers, of which there are more than 31,500 of them! These volunteers do everything from working the lifeboats – to education in the community – to fundraising. These are some of the facts and figures of their work in 2014:
- There were 8,462 launches
- On average 24 people a day were rescued
- 55,000 hours were given by volunteer crew members to service calls
- Lifeguards watched over 15.5 million beach goers of which almost 20,000 of them were aided by lifeguards
- Lifeguards pulled 32 people from the sea in 90 minutes at Polzeath
- 460 people were saved and thousands were rescued
The RNLI is certainly a charity worth supporting, it is one I have supported for many years and not just since living in Northern Ireland near the sea. I would have supported them from landlocked Worcestershire too, donating whenever I saw a collection box or visited one of their lifeboat stations.
They have a fascinating history, far too much to replicate here and do it justice, however if you want to find out more why not check out the RNLI’s Our History Page
This video is of a recent rescue on 7th June 1015 by the RNLI from Tenby Lifeboat Station – it is a rescue from a tall ship – Lord Nelson (the ship I will be sailing on in July). More information about the rescue can be found here
Facts and figures from the website of the RNLI