Busy Summer for Sussex Lifeboats

22 September 2010, 00:00

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is sending out a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to hundreds of understanding employers of volunteer lifeboat crew members, after another busy summer season across Sussex.

The message comes as preliminary figures show a busy summer of lifeboat activity on the island – throughout June, July and August, lifeboats from Selsey, Littlehampton, Shoreham, Brighton, Newhaven, Eastbourne, Hastings and Rye Harbour launched a total of 217 times. (see detailed figures below)

The charity that saves lives at sea is sending out the summer salute to employers to thank them for being so accommodating towards staff who are also lifeboat crew members. The majority of lifeboat crew members are volunteers who regularly have to abandon what they’re doing at the bleep of a pager, which means leaving their desks or other place of work in a bid to save lives at sea. Employers are on the whole very understanding, but there can be no period more difficult than the summer, when many businesses are short on staff due to summer holidays.

RNLI Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, said: ‘Many of our lifeboat volunteers are especially busy at this time with their day jobs as many of them work in the tourism industry, so we are especially grateful to them in summer – and to their employers who allow them to stop work at the “bleep of a pager” to help others, and given the current economic climate for businesses this is a great contribution to the charity.’

Andrew Ashton, Divisional Inspector for the RNLI east region said: ‘The summer is always busy for the RNLI as more and more people opt to relax at the coast each summer in the UK and Ireland. The figures show that our volunteers are called on much more during this time and the fact they respond every time the pager goes off shows just how committed they are to saving lives at sea.

‘And whilst thanking them is important, I want to say how grateful I and all the lifeboat station managers along the Sussex coast are to all those who employ our volunteer crew members. By granting them leave of absence to launch the lifeboats they show a profound understanding of our status as a charity, and the livesaving service that the RNLI provides.’

In the summer period, Selsey RNLI lifeboats launched 19 times, a fraction higher than the 17 launches in 2009. The table below shows the number of lifeboat launches this summer for all stations, compared to the previous year.

RNLI lifeboat station

Lifeboat launches in summer 2010

Lifeboat launches in summer 2009

Rye Harbour















Shoreham Harbour









Total launches for RNLI stations in Sussex



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