The RNLI in the north west is preparing for a busy Christmas, after a record number of callouts over the festive period last year. There were eight lifeboat launches between the 11 stations across the region from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. Seven people were assisted, and one life was saved.

We don’t think anything of being on call at Christmas – it’s what we do and what we’re trained for. Christmas is just like any other day for me and our volunteer crew, if someone needs our help, it really doesn’t matter what day of the year it is. But we couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public. The RNLI has experienced a shortfall in funds, but we are rescuing more people than ever before. We are facing the Perfect Storm and are calling on people to make a donation this Christmas to ensure we can continue saving lives at sea.

Andy Dodd, Hoylake RNLI Coxswain

The RNLI says the causes of callouts over the festive period have changed over the years. In the early 1980s the most common reason for callouts was to commercial fishing vessels and powered craft. Since 2000, many of those needing help are often just visiting the coast and not out on vessels or watercraft. As well as slips, trips and falls, tidal cut offs are also a contributing factor to RNLI call outs.