Highlands & Islands

RNLI rescued record number of people in Scotland in 2012

Queensferry RNLI
Image caption Queensferry RNLI was Scotland's busiest inshore station

The RNLI says it rescued a record number of people in Scotland last year.

The charity's annual statistics show that its volunteer crews went to the aid of 1,055 people. Its previous highest number was 1,026 in 2006.

The RNLI said the number of people rescued after getting stuck on rocks, in mud, or cut off by the tide had increased.

It said a large number of rescues - 386 - had to be made by crews at night in darkness.

The busiest station for the second consecutive year was Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, with 103 launches, during which 37 people were rescued.

Queensferry, near Edinburgh, was the busiest inshore station and its crew has been the busiest operating an inshore lifeboat for several years.

During 2012, it launched 66 times and rescued 163 people, the highest among Scotland's stations.

Kessock near Inverness, Kippford in Dumfries and Galloway, Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire and Largs in Ayrshire were among other stations that had busier years in 2012 than 2011.

Image caption Broughty Ferry was Scotland's busiest station for the second consecutive year

Scotland's newest station, Leverburgh in the Western Isles, opened on a trial basis in May and it was called out on emergencies on 11 occasions, rescuing 25 people.

The RNLI will make a decision on the future of the all-weather station later this year.

Anstruther helmsman Barry Gourlay was awarded the charity's bronze medal for his actions during a night-time rescue of two people from a motorboat driven on to rocks by high winds.

Arbroath, Scotland's sixth busiest station with 41 launches, saved two Dundee men who had spent more than two hours at sea after their craft broke down in freezing waters off the east coast in late November.

Ben Thomson, one of the men, said: "By the time Arbroath lifeboat picked us up, we were in a really bad way.

"I just want to express my thanks to the crew as, without them, I don't know if I would be here today."

Andy Clift, the RNLI's regional operations manager for Scotland, said: "The figures show that our volunteers dedicate a huge amount of their time to saving lives at sea.

"To know that they are on call 24/7, every day of the year, is reassuring for all of us who venture out to sea around the Scottish coast."

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