Sail boats accounted for 1,573 of the 8,304 launches by RNLI lifeboats in 2013, while powerboaters sparked 1,920 call-outs

Just over half of the RNLI lifeboat launches last year were to leisure boaters and watersports


Figures released by the charity show that out of a

total 8,304 lifeboat launches, 4,160 were to people enjoying a day on the water

around the UK and Ireland – up slightly (1.4%) from the 4,101 in 2012.

Sail boats

accounted for 1,573 launches (down by 5.2% from 2012), while power boats accounted

for 1,920 launches (up by 7% from 2012).

Meanwhile manual leisure craft – surfers, kayaks, paddleboards bodyboards and tenders without

engines – accounted for

667 launches (up by 3% from 2012).

Overall the

number of lifeboat launches in 2013 was similar to 2012, with RNLI lifeboats

launching 8,304 times compared to 8,346 times in 2012.

The volunteer crews

launched 3,069 times into darkness and 124 times into winds above a Force 7.


biggest cause for call out for the RNLI was machinery failure
with lifeboats

launching 1,596 times to boats with mechanical problems.

The busiest

coastal station was Southend-on-Sea, which launched its lifeboats and rescue

hovercraft 142 times.


Stephens, coastal safety staff officer for the RNLI, urged boat owners to take extra precautions.

He said: ‘While the RNLI will

help anyone in trouble at sea, we’re asking people to respect the water and

take time to be prepared before they go afloat.

‘A few simple things before you

set off including checking your engine and fuel, making sure you are carrying

spares (and the tools to fit them)  and having some way to call for help

will be invaluable should you get into difficulty whilst out at sea.


on board should be wearing an appropriate lifejacket.’

The RNLI offers a free Advice Onboard service where highly trained volunteers can look at the safety aspects of your boat and provide personal, face-to-face safety

advice service.

Some of the

most notable rescues of 2013 include:

  • Thirty

    people were rescued from the sinking tall ship Astrid by lifeboats from Kinsale and

    Courtmacsherry in July. The ship was driven onto rocks off the south coast of

    Ireland and started taking on water. Watch the rescue here.
  • Eastbourne’s all-weather

    lifeboat launched to a 27ft motor-sailor that had issued a distress call two

    miles off Beachy Head. One of the boat’s crew had suffered a head injury and

    another was suffering from severe sickness in rough seas. The lifeboat

    volunteers gave first aid and brought the stricken crew and their vessel back

    to shore. See the full story and photos here.
  • Hayling Island RNLI went

    to the aid of a Mayday from a yacht approaching Chichester Harbour in

    south-westerly Force 6 winds and 3-4 metre waves, after her tiller snapped and

    the crew lost all steerage control. See here

  • Mudeford

    RNLI were tasked to assist a man and his two children after they experienced

    trouble on their six metre Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) in September, the full

    story is available to read here

Watch the video of RNLI 2013 Rescues


Astrid rescue. Credit: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Newhaven lifeboat searches for missing boy. Credit: Paul Appleton