As we now head towards the height of the tourism season our local lifeboat crews are busier than ever.
I recently called in to the RNLI station in Fleetwood to see how the crews coping and whilst I was there they were called out twice. I’m so grateful to the whole team for willingly giving of their free time to volunteer and the risks they take to rescue people (and animals) when they get into difficulties.
That’s why this month I’m delighted to highlight the work of the RNLI – which unlike the other emergency services is not supported by the public purse but instead has to fund-raise every day to maintain a service that saves lives.
This year Fleetwood celebrates it’s 160th anniversary.
It was In February 1859, that the first lifeboat arrived in Fleetwood at its new boathouse, built on the beach opposite the North Euston Hotel.
When Captain Edward Wasey first appealed to the RNLI for a lifeboat in Fleetwood, he could have had no idea how successful the decision would be.
Over the last 160 years, the RNLI volunteers in the town, have saved nearly 700 lives.
The first lifeboat, a 30 foot, six oared ‘Peake’ class, which was unnamed, was kept on a special launching carriage. It was built at a cost of £140.
Fleetwood RNLI’s latest Shannon class lifeboat, Kenneth James Pierpoint, in contrast, cost £2.2 million and is the 12th all-weather lifeboat to serve at Fleetwood. She rests in the seventh lifeboat station to be built near the Euston Gardens. Alongside the all-weather lifeboats, Fleetwood RNLI has also had ‘D’ class lifeboats serving at the lifeboat station, since 1966.
Now 160 years later, the volunteers will celebrate this incredible anniversary at their annual Lifeboat Day on 20th July – keep an eye out for more information coming soon!
Across the North West the latest figures show RNLI volunteers launched 364 times and aided 237 people in 2018. The volunteer crew at the 11 stations in Cumbria, Merseyside and Lancashire saved 18 lives during the 12-month period. Remarkably the Fleetwood crews have been presented with 15 awards for gallantry.
More Than Just A Rescue Service
The RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews provide a 24-hour rescue service in the UK and Ireland, and seasonal lifeguards look after people on busy beaches. There are also Flood Rescue Teams who help those affected by flooding.
RNLI crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,200 lives since its beginnings in 1824 but they’re more than a rescue service. They influence, supervise and educate people too. Community Safety teams explain the risks and share safety knowledge with anyone going out to sea or to the coast. And their international teams work with like-minded organisations to help tackle drowning in communities at risk all around the world.
With 95% of the RNLI’s total income coming from generous donations and legacies, the service depends on dedicated volunteers and supporters to save lives at sea. Your support means lifeboat crews can reunite the 22 people they aid each day with their families. So, however you choose to get involved, you can feel good knowing you’re making a difference.
It costs around £483,000 a day to run this lifesaving service. Your generosity means crews can save lives quickly, safely and effectively.
In 2018 it cost £163.5M to run the lifesaving service.
Giving lifesavers everything they need and deserve – from boots to boats – is costly. There are 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, and lifeguards patrol over 248 beaches each summer.
Last year the running costs were divided up into:
- Lifeboats, property and equipment 53%
- Lifeboat service 27%
- Lifeguard rescue 12%
- Safety, education and awareness 6%
- International 2%.
Much of the income is used to keep lifesavers ready for the next call for help. This includes building new lifeboats and the buildings which house, protect and launch them.
RNLI solar panels, heat pumps and a wind turbine generated a saving of around £129,800.
Ways You Can Help
From making a donation, leaving a gift in your will or donating in memory of a loved one – there are lots of ways to make a difference.
There are some fantastic fundraising ideas here: https://rnli.org/support-us/raise-money/fundraising-ideas
Schoolchildren – Please Help!
RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew save lives at sea every day around the coasts of the UK and Ireland. Their protective yellow welly boots help keep them safe at sea.
RNLI wellies keep crews’ feet warm and dry. They’re non-slip so the crews can move safely around the lifeboat in heavy seas, while reinforced toe-caps and soles protect the crews’ feet from crushing injuries.
They’re not common or garden wellies; that’s why they cost £42 a pair. £42 would be a great fundraising target for a small class or group. But if you’re at a bigger school, you could raise enough for two, three or even ten pairs! However much it takes to fill your boots, your contribution will be greatly appreciated.
Here’s some suggestions for helping the RNLI buy new boots:
- Wear a welly day: Pay a donation and wear your favourite wellies to school for the day.
- Welly walk: How many times can you walk around the playground in your wellies?
- Wellympics: Have an afternoon of welly-themed sports. How about trying welly sprints, welly wanging (throwing), welly relay (pass on a welly, or a welly filled with water, instead of a baton) … Invent your own wellympic sports!
- Welly cake sale: Sell cakes at the end of the school day and collect money in your welly.
- Welly bob-a-job: Wear your wellies while doing messy chores like gardening or cleaning.
- Fun in the classroom: Decorate a welly outline to put on the wall, paint a huge picture with welly footprints, sow a seed in an old welly, write a story about our mascot Bertie Boot …
More details can be found here: https://rnli.org/youth-education/fill-your-boots-fundraising
Thank you so much for reading about the work of the RNLI.
If you’re going to the beach this summer then remember to take care. Playing in the water can be great fun but the sea can be very unpredictable. Check out the RNLI website for tips on how to stay safe and if you can help by giving a donation, they and I would be very grateful.
Have a lovely summer everyone!