Essex

Southend lifeboat station named as RNLI's busiest coastal base

More than 130 people were rescued by crews from Southend's lifeboat station, which has been named the RNLI's busiest coastal base.

The station houses a hovercraft and two lifeboats which it uses to oversee the south Essex waterways.

During 137 craft launches, RNLI crews spent 406 hours at sea rescuing 132 people in 2012.

The number of callouts in neighbouring Suffolk rose 50% from 59 in 2011 to 88 last year.

Andrew Ashton, the RNLI's regional operations manager for the east, said: "Despite the poor weather with people tending to visit the coast less, our lifeboat stations have had another busy year saving lives at sea."

The only stations busier than Southend were two in central London - Tower and Chiswick - which are inland rather than on the coast.

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