A 30-year old man had got into to trouble when his legs became entangled in the lines of his kite. The Fraserburgh all-weather lifeboat went to his aid. Two of the volunteer crew pulled the man onboard, helped untangle him and returned him to Fraserburgh. It was a fairly routine rescue, albeit one for which the man was very grateful - and, as usual, after the lifeboat was safely back in the station, the lifeboat coxswain filled out a form using an RNLI computer system, recording details of the incident and whether any lives were saved.
It’s a procedure that happens after every launch of every boat at every one of the charity’s 236 stations around the coasts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.These ‘service returns’, as they are known, are then double-checked at the RNLI HQ in Poole, and the number of lives saved in each incident is logged on a central database. There are strict criteria that the rescue has to meet in order to qualify as a life saved. It has to be clear that if the lifeboat and or its crew had not been involved, a life would have been lost.It was this database that revealed the rescue of the kitesurfer was the charity’s 140,000th life saved. That’s the equivalent of the entire population of the Isle of Wight. It also works out as 745 people saved for every year the charity has been in operation, or just over two people saved every single day since the RNLI began.
Many of the 140,000 lives saved also represent significant steps in the development of the RNLI. For example, the first life saved by an RNLI lifeguard was at Durley Chine in Bournemouth on June 23 2001, when a person was caught in a rip-tide. That year was the first year RNLI lifeguards began patrolling UK beaches. The first life saved by an RNLI hovercraft was in July 2004 at Morecambe, when four people collecting cockles were cut off by the tide. Hovercrafts had been introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2002 and that same year also saw the introduction of lifeboats on the Thames.
Paul Bossier, Chief Executive, said: “We are very proud that the RNLI has reached this remarkable milestone. Every single one of those 140,000 lives was somebody’s son or daughter, somebody’s wife or mother or father or friend. It’s almost impossible to imagine how many families have been affected by the actions of our brave lifeboat crews and lifeguards.
“I am also extremely proud that, since its founding, the RNLI has always been a charity, supported by an army of tireless fundraisers and the enormous generosity of the public. It is also a great source of pride that the vast majority of lifeboat crew members are volunteers - ordinary people who do extraordinary things. And while we remember all these remarkable rescues, I would also like us to remember that more than 600 people have given their lives in the service of the RNLI.”
This is just one example of the RNLI's great work - for more information see the RNLI. To see more , read Poole RNLI Douses Burning Boat and Fisherman and Runaway Boat Rescued.