Wave of call-outs.Byline: Dave Robson
The long hot summer and people using mobile phones added up to a busy 2003 for Teesside's lifeboat crews.
Figures just released for last year show that both Redcar and Teesmouth Lifeboat stations had busy, although not record-breaking, years.
Nationally, 2003 was the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's busiest year.
Lifeboats around the British Isles British Isles: see Great Britain; Ireland. launched a record 8,047 times (an annual increase of 7pc) rescuing 7,815 people - an average of 21 people daily.
The Teesmouth lifeboat was launched 24 times - slightly up on last year - rescuing 87 people, while Redcar's two lifeboats launched 49 times, helping 61 people - slightly down on the previous two years, when record figures of 56 call-outs were posted each year.
Of last year's Redcar call-outs, at least two were classed as lives saved - an incident at Saltburn, where lifeguard Paul Crook and female body surfer Donna Ford found trouble in heavy seas, and at Redcar, where Kosovan refugees got into difficulties near the Stray Stray
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Redcar spokesman Dave Cammish said the good weather, and the fact so many people carry mobile phones helped contribute to the relatively high figures.
"The good summer meant the beaches were crowded, so you are always likely to have quite a few incidents.
"But we must urge people not to rely on mobile phones. Especially when out at sea, reception can be very patchy PATCHY - A Fortran code management program written at CERN. ."
Nationally, the busiest RNLI RNLI (in Britain) Royal National Lifeboat Institution
RNLI n abbr (BRIT) (= Royal National Lifeboat Institution) → organización benéfica que proporciona un servicio de lanchas de socorro
lifeboat station was Poole, Dorset, with 175 launches between its two lifeboats, resulting in the rescue of 190 people.
RNLI operations director, Michael Vlasto, said: "The total number of lifeboat launches has increased year on year since 1986, making the 2003 figure more than double the 1986 total of 3,724.
"We believe this trend is due to a number of factors, such as the changing patterns of sea use by the public, improved search and rescue techniques and the dramatic growth in the use of mobile telephones among the public. And particularly for 2003, the long, hot summer.
'We would not be able to respond to this increased demand without the dedication of our volunteer lifeboat crews, the station personnel who support them and our network of tireless fundraisers.
"Also, we should not forget the public for, in its 180th year, the RNLI continues to rely on voluntary donations and legacies."
* Anyone wishing to help the RNLI can call the donations hotline on 0800 543210, visit website www.rnli.org.uk, contact your local stations or visit the Redcar Esplanade gift shop. Redcar's boathouse is open for training every Sunday morning Sunday Morning may refer to: