RNLI crews saved 73 lives at sea during 2016

The Mumbles RNLI lifeboat Image copyright Stephen Duncombe
Image caption Mumbles RNLI was the busiest lifeboat station in Wales last year

Wales' volunteer lifeboat crews saved 73 lives at sea last year, latest RNLI figures have shown.

The charity saw lifeboats at its 30 stations across Wales launch 1,175 times in 2016, an 11% rise on the previous year.

Mumbles RNLI in Swansea was the busiest station for the second year running, with 83 launches.

RNLI lifeguards also had a busy year, responding to 1,271 incidents across 39 patrolled beaches.

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Media captionRNLI footage of three fishermen being rescued in Moelfre Bay, Anglesey.

Matt Crofts, RNLI lifesaving manager, said the charity was "extremely grateful for the dedication show by its lifesavers" who spent almost 28,000 hours at sea last year.

"But we really do see our rescue service as a last resort," he said.

The 2016 Wales figures also showed:

  • Members in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, rescued 109 people, more than any other station, seven of which were classed as lives saved
  • Angle RNLI's Tamar class lifeboat in Pembrokeshire was the busiest all-weather lifeboat with 50 launches
  • Bridgend's Porthcawl RNLI was the busiest inshore lifeboat station with 80 launches
  • The team at St Davids in Pembrokeshire saw the biggest jump in the number of people rescued at 39, more than double than the previous year
  • Rhyl RNLI in Denbighshire was the busiest station in north Wales with 66 launches

The latest figures came as the charity celebrated the official opening of a new visitor centre in Vale of Glamorgan.

The Barry Island venue claims to be the first of its kind in the UK, focusing on drowning prevention.

The RNLI hopes to help teach 30,000 visitors a year about water safety, using bespoke interactive exhibitions.

It is part of the charity's bid to cut drowning deaths in Britain by 50% by 2024.

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