1. ITV Report

Busy summer for region's lifeboat crews

The Lowestoft lifeboat saved 11 people from a sinking dive boat in July. Photo: James Bass / RNLI

It's been a busy summer for East Anglian lifeboats with crews in Suffolk being called out twice as many times as in 2011.

Lifeboats along the Suffolk coast were called on 41 times during summer 2012 - more than twice as many times as the previous year when there were 18 call-outs. The heatwave weekend of 18-19 August proved busy, perhaps not least because the hottest temperature of the year, 32.4C, was recorded at Cavendish, Suffolk, on the Saturday.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) reported that Aldeburgh lifeboat braved the roughest sea conditions. On Friday 8 June, the Aldeburgh crew launched in force 9-10 conditions to assist a 13-metre Dutch yacht with four crewmen onboard. The yacht had struck the Aldeburgh Ridge and lost her rudder. Working alongside an RAF rescue helicopter, the lifeboat managed to tow the yacht to safety despite terrible weather conditions.

Aldeburgh lifeboat was involved in a rescue in the roughest conditions of the year in June. Credit: RNLI

On Sunday 22 July a volunteer crew, who happened to be on exercise near Lowestoft Harbour, saved 11 people from a sinking dive boat. Four of those were trapped in the wheelhouse with waters rising rapidly, before they were able to escape through a small window.

The number of calls-outs in Essex was down slightly but Southend-on-Sea was busiest coastal station in Britain with a 40 per cent increase in call-outs from 51 to 71.

Lifeboats were called out 79 times in Norfolk, an increase of more than 70% compared with 2011. In Happisburgh, Norfolk there were 6 times as many call-outs in 2012, rising from 3 in 2011 to 18 and in Hunstanton call-outs more than tripled from 8 to 26

It's been a busy summer for East Anglian lifeboats with crews in Suffolk being called out twice as many times as in 2011. Credit: ITV Anglia

Overall lifeboats in East Anglia were called out 312 times over the summer, up 16% compared with 2011. Essex has 192 call-outs, up from 199 in 2011. The lifeboats were called out 79 times in Norfolk, up from 46 times in 2011. Suffolk lifeboats had 41 call-outs, up from 18 last year.

Call-outs from East Anglian RNLI stations in summer 2012

  • Hunstanton - 26 (up 225%)
  • Wells-Next-The-Sea - 9 (down 31%)
  • Sheringham - 2 (down 60%)
  • Cromer - 7 (up 40%)
  • Happisburgh - 18 (up 500%)
  • Great Yarmouth - 17 (up 42%)
  • Lowestoft - 16 (up 167%)
  • Southwold - 7 (down 22%)
  • Aldeburgh - 18 (up 500%)
  • Harwich - 43 (up 5%)
  • Walton & Frinton - 10 (down 9%)
  • Clacton-on-Sea - 20 (down 31%)
  • West Mersea - 27 (down 37%)
  • Burnham-on-Crouch - 21 (down 13%)
  • Southend-on-Sea - 71 (up 16%)

This summer, RNLI lifeboats launched nationally 3,575 times, a slight drop on last year’s total of 3,633. The figures, which cover the period June 1 to August 31 2012 and include all the charity’s lifeboats across the UK and Republic of Ireland, are down two percent compared to the 2011 figures, which the RNLI says is probably due to the rainy weather at the beginning of the summer